As of today there is no law prohibiting the chaining or tethering of dogs by their owners in Chatham County, NC. Many residents and pet owners cannot afford adequate enclosures for their dogs living outside. Other owners are not aware of the negative consequences that tethering dogs to trees or posts have on their quality of life. Many dog owners do not realize that the quality of their pet’s life can greatly improve by providing a secure fenced area instead of a chain.
That is where Dogs Off Chains (D.O.C.) comes in. D.O.C. is made up of over one hundred volunteers in Chatham County who originated as members of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs based in Durham, NC. After membership for more than a year, these volunteers wished for more independence in their plight to help the dogs of Chatham County. They officially became their own entity in May of 2011. In July of this year they earned their non-profit status. Robin Luker, director of D.O.C., says that the “concern for the welfare of dogs living all day, every day outdoors on chains, in small kennels, or other substandard conditions” prompted the formation of their organization. D.O.C. volunteers also strive to increase the quality of life for dogs and their owners through outreach and education on proper pet care and strong pet-owner relationships. D.O.C. provides free spay and neuter services, doghouses, and fences for these dogs in need as well.
Dogs who are chained or tethered cannot defend themselves against other animals or humans who may try to harm them. Chains are heavy and tight collars become tighter as dogs attempt to free themselves day after day. Sometimes ropes or chains entangle and restrict a dog’s mobility. As a result, a chained dog may not be able to access food, water, or shelter. D.O.C. works to restore safety and freedom to dogs of Chatham County by helping the owners find alternatives to chains or tethers.
D.O.C. is not considered an official rescue organization. However, many of their volunteers provide foster homes for dogs and cats in Chatham County. They work in conjunction with other local rescue groups to help ease the burden in an area of animal welfare that is overcrowded and underserved.
D.O.C. is solely made up of volunteers and funded only by donations. The recent decline in the national economy has also caused a decrease in donations to non-profit organizations everywhere, especially for D.O.C. Robin Luker states, “This of course makes it difficult for us to provide for the dogs in need. But every dog we can provide for, even if only one dog at a time, is one more chain free happy dog.”
If you would like more information about or to donate to Dogs Off Chains, please see their website, www.dogsoffchains.org.They are also on Facebook under Dogs Off Chains.