Petition to make dog tethering or chaining illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

  • by: Victor Cardamone
  • recipient: Governor Tom Wolf, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

We, the undersigned, are petitioning for a new law to be passed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This law will make it illegal for any animal to be tethered or chained in an indoor or outdoor environment.

Chaining or tethering an animal is both inhumane and a threat to the safety of the animal as well as other animals, and humans. A dog kept chained alone in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage due to a lack of physical energy release, which inevitably leads to intense aggression, possibly injuring or killing an unsuspecting passer-by. Not to mention, a tethered dog who finally does get loose from his chains may release that pent up aggression on the first living being it encounters. Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who are unaware of the chained dog's presence until it is too late.

Chained dogs are also easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for sale to research institutions or to be used as training tools for organized animal fighting rings, or worse as targets of mentally challenged individuals looking to do them harm. One can easily look at the high profile animal abuse case regarding Puppy Doe as an example of what tragedies can befall an animal that is exposed to the wrong individual. Additionally, tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death, prevent them from accessing their food, water or shelter; or after long term exposure, result in the collar literally cutting into the animal’s skin, becoming embedded into the tissue causing intense constant pain to the animal.


Numerous attacks on people by tethered dogs have been documented by The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association; reporting that 17% of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were restrained on their owners' property at the time of the attack, and the book Fatal Dog Attacks states that 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds, not just the ones singled out in the media. In addition the U. S. Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering:


"Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury.”

More and more communities are passing laws that regulate the practice of tethering animals. New Orleans LA, Tucson AZ, Okaloosa FL, Carthage MO, Lawton, OK and other cities ban all chaining. The state of Connecticut, along with New York City, Wichita KS, Denver CO, Austin TX, Norfolk VA, West Palm Beach FL, and others allow dogs to be chained only for a limited number of hours a day. Little Rock AR, along with other cities, ban fixed-point chaining but do allow pulley runs. See a complete list of anti-chaining laws here: http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm

Animal control and humane agencies receive calls every day from citizens concerned about animals in these cruel situations. Animal control officers, paid at taxpayer expense, spend many hours trying to educate pet owners about the dangers and cruelty involved in this practice. Regulations against chaining also give officers a tool to crack down on illegal dog fighting, since many fighting dogs are kept on chains.

Any city, county, or state that bans this practice is a safer, more humane community.

Thank you for signing this petition and for your commitment to help protect all the animals entrusted to our care!

Dear Governor Wolf,


I am writing to you regarding my concerns about the welfare of our animals in Pennsylvania being chained or tethered, particularly as this winter season is coming to a close and we approach a soon to be searing summer, animals tethered outside are the most vulnerable. I respectfully request that you initiate the passage of a law making it illegal to chain or tether any animal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Chaining or tethering an animal is both inhumane and a threat to the safety of the animal as well as other animals, and humans. A dog kept chained alone in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage due to a lack of physical energy release, which inevitably leads to intense aggression, possibly injuring or killing an unsuspecting passer-by. Not to mention, a tethered dog who finally does get loose from his chains may release that pent up aggression on the first living being it encounters. Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who are unaware of the chained dog's presence until it is too late.


Chained dogs are also easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for sale to research institutions or to be used as training tools for organized animal fighting rings, or worse as targets of mentally challenged individuals looking to do them harm. One can easily look at the high profile animal abuse case regarding Puppy Doe as an example of what tragedies can befall an animal that is exposed to the wrong individual. Additionally, tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death, prevent them from accessing their food, water or shelter; or after long term exposure, result in the collar literally cutting into the animal’s skin, becoming embedded into the tissue causing intense constant pain to the animal.
Numerous attacks on people by tethered dogs have been documented by The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association; reporting that 17% of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were restrained on their owners' property at the time of the attack, and the book Fatal Dog Attacks states that 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds, not just the ones singled out in the media. In addition the U. S. Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering:
"Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury.”
More and more communities are passing laws that regulate the practice of tethering animals. New Orleans LA, Tucson AZ, Okaloosa FL, Carthage MO, Lawton, OK and other cities ban all chaining. The state of Connecticut, along with New York City, Wichita KS, Denver CO, Austin TX, Norfolk VA, West Palm Beach FL, and others allow dogs to be chained only for a limited number of hours a day. Little Rock AR, along with other cities, ban fixed-point chaining but do allow pulley runs. See a complete list of anti-chaining laws here: http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm


Animal control and humane agencies receive calls every day from citizens concerned about animals in these cruel situations. Animal control officers, paid at taxpayer expense, spend many hours trying to educate pet owners about the dangers and cruelty involved in this practice. Regulations against chaining also give officers a tool to crack down on illegal dog fighting, since many fighting dogs are kept on chains.


I trust that upon examination of the above facts and based on the enclosed signed petition, you will agree with all of us that it is in the best interest of any animal to not be tethered or chained outdoors and facilitate the process to make this practice illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Sincerely,



Victor Cardamone

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