Portsmouth, Va. — PETA has sent an urgent letter to Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright and to each of the city’s councilmembers urging them to enact legislation to follow the lead of more than 100 jurisdictions—including Norfolk and Virginia Beach—and ban or severely restrict the chaining of dogs. PETA sent the letter after a tragic incident on February 12 in which a 2-year-old pit bull, Storm, was left outdoors unattended for hours and apparently hanged herself over a fence at the end of a chain. PETA suggests that the new ordinance be named “Storm’s Law.”
“Storm deserved better than to be chained up and ignored like an old bicycle and left to experience the agony and terror of being hanged,” says PETA Director Martin Mersereau. “Portsmouth lawmakers would do a good deed for their constituents—and for dogs—by banning this cruel, dangerous practice.”
Dogs who are chained outdoors are forced to endure all weather extremes, and they spend their entire lives eating, sleeping, and eliminating in the same few square feet of space. Chained dogs are also defenseless, which makes them easy targets for thieves, dogfighters, and neighbors who are annoyed by the dogs’ barking.
Chaining dogs—who are highly social pack animals—is also dangerous because it deprives them of the social interaction that they need, which can make them aggressive. Tufts University veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman stated, “Chaining dogs makes them more aggressive—the shorter the chain, the greater the aggression.” Dogs need companionship and room to run. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that chained dogs are nearly three times as likely to attack as are dogs who are not chained. PETA maintains an extensive list of incidents in which children have been mauled or killed after wandering within reach of chained dogs or encountering dogs who have broken free from chains.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.