Change, not Chains

It’s that time of year again. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and that means it’s time for the annual Dogs Deserve Better valentine campaign. Dogs Deserve Better is a 501c3 non-profit advocacy group devoted to rescuing chained, penned and neglected dogs and advocating to pass anti-tethering animal welfare legislation.

Last year when I shared the valentine campaign on my Facebook page, one of my nieces thought it was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard of. Also during the past year, a cousin reading my blog asked “Rescuing chained dogs? Like, dogs chained in a yard?”

Two years ago, I didn’t know much about this movement, but I’ve spent some time educating myself since then: so let me tell you what I’ve learned.

Dogs are social creatures. In nature, they live in packs with a social hierarchy. When we domesticated dogs and took them into our homes, we essentially became their ‘pack’. As this relationship evolved, we made a pact with them: we will provide food, water and shelter. We will be your “pack” and you will help us hunt and will protect us.

Dogs kept their end of the bargain, and did so much more: they became companions, confidantes, protectors, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, drug sniffers, police dogs, trackers, hunters, and entertainers. They want nothing more than to please us.  But at least half of humanity has failed them. Many dogs do not even receive basic vet care. Some cannot rely on their owners for regular feedings. A good many of them are chained outdoors, more often than not without adequate shelter or water. Many of them die on the end of a chain, starved, sick, lonely and forgotten. More die that way than you would care to know. Some of them hang themselves when their chains get caught on trees or fences.

Close your eyes and imagine for a minute what life is like for a dog on a chain. They wear a chain around their neck, sometimes without a collar – sometimes with a collar that is so tight that it becomes embedded in their neck.

This dog was chained with a collar so tight that it became embedded.

Sometimes the chain is so heavy, they can barely move around. Sometimes the chain is so short, they cannot reach food or water or shade and they are forced to stand and lie in their own waste. They are outside in all kinds of weather – rain, snow, blistering sun. Worst of all, they are alone. They may see their people and other people and animals coming and going, but they are tethered to one spot. Alone. Unnoticed. Unable to interact. Aching for a gentle hand or kind word. Remember how I told you they are social animals? Tethering is like solitary confinement – and for what crime? For being a dog.

Chained dogs are not socialized the way they need to be, and they are often fearful and protective of their territory. They defend what they have, even if it’s an empty dish and a four foot circle of dirt. Chained dogs account for most of the dog bites in the US each year, because being unsocialized makes them much more likely to be aggressive. It’s no wonder they resort to barking and digging. They are bored out of their minds.

Who is going to untangle him? Some dogs lose legs this way.

Chaining a dog is inhumane. Dogs are made to run and play and socialize. Even those who are fed and watered regularly…even those who can crawl out of the weather under the porch or into a flimsy doghouse…even those dogs need love and attention for their basic well being.

All around the country, people are beginning to understand these basic tenets. Laws are beginning to change that limit the amount of time a dog can be tethered, and under what conditions. Cleveland City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would restrict the tethering of dogs in the city to no more than three hours a day, and only under certain conditions. (read more about that here.)

So, back to valentines…

Dogs Deserve Better hopes to send 18,000 valentines to owners of chained, penned and neglected dogs this year.  The valentines come from the dogs chained in their yards. They are meant to remind the dog’s caretakers that they are failing. They are not living up to their end of the bargain. The valentines are accompanied by educational brochures about tethering and coupons for food or treats.

DDB needs your help to reach their goal. They need people to make valentines, to tell them the addresses where dogs are chained, and to donate postage. February 5th is the deadline.You can see some samples of valentines from previous years on their website.

Send your valentines and postage to: Dogs Deserve Better – 1915 Moonlight Rd., Smithfield, VA 23430.

Use the form on their website to report addresses (you will remain anonymous). Or email the information to:

Many dogs starve to death on the end of a chain.

Call Cleveland City Council at 216-664-2840 and tell them that you support the anti-tethering ordinance.

Dogs deserve so much better.


About yelodoggie

C.A.Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. She has been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. She has written two books about her true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also writes a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and is a contributing editor for She attributes her love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
This entry was posted in The Woof on Animal Welfare Legislation, The Woof on Rescue Groups and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Change, not Chains

  1. this is so sickening. How dare people treat these poor defenseless animals this way. Karma is a bitch people. i hope it hits u twice fold!!!!!


    • yelodoggie says:

      Kyle, thanks for weighing in. This isn’t the first bad press that DDB has received. I have found that hate mail and bad press go hand in hand with high profile people in animal rescue. There was more behind the scenes between former DDB rep Shannon Allen and founder Tamira Thayne, and Tami had declined to comment because a court case was pending. The carport Allen brings up was not bought to serve as a carport, but as a sunshade in the yard for the dogs.
      I was personally a little disconcerted right after the purchase of the Vick property, when rescues dropped off, but I understand that sometimes in order to reach long term goals it is sometimes necessary to change priorities for a short time. I don’t think that anybody expected DDB to move into a new facility and take in a hundred dogs the first year…there is too much groundwork to lay. The rescue continues to move in the right direction. I read your link, now read mine:


  2. Kate says:

    If you have started a non-profit organization that helps rescue dogs, or any other animals, please post it here, but keep the name-calling off the blog. It really only makes you look bad, especially since you only have one story to post. Have you read about anything else she has done? I don’t think manipulating greedy liars normally chain themselves outside a state courthouse to get attention for a cause. It actually doesn’t surprise me that she gets bad press, but Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation goes unnoticed for years – it is Virginia after all.


  3. nancy5vic says:

    Hmm…well, I tether my dog outside sometimes. I haven’t yet trained him with the invisible fence. My neighborhood association doesn’t allow fences. He’s never out more than 15-20 minutes, and only when the weather permits. Is this wrong? Am I teaching him to be overly territorial? I also walk him four times/day…so he gets out plenty, but I always feel like a little sniff around the yard or a quick nap on the porch sounds like a nice dog thing to do. I thought I was being a good dog owner, but now I wonder….


    • yelodoggie says:

      A little bit of time in the yard on a tether is not a bad thing. The chained/tethered dogs that DDB and the ordinances are about are dogs that are out 24/7/365. Your little dog lives in the house as part of the family, which is what we are all striving for.


  4. Rita says:

    These are very very Sad Pics. Please Lord Jesus watch over these poor Pooches!


  5. Ayush Mehta says:

    i am from india i cant tell much about your contries but i am telling you if u love dogs never come to india because people here are so inhuman that the dogs who dont have any owners and those who roam on the streets and either killed by feeding them poison or simply shot……i have a dog his name is ranger whenever i see anyone doing such thing i try to stop them but they push me aside , what can i do i am just thirteen……and i simply cry like hell but everyone reading this if you can help the dog lovers in India plzzzz help……i am feeling suffocated ….i just cant take and see dog killings anymore plzzz guys help…


  6. iamwillis789 says:

    Let me just add that the only “manipulating liar” is Shannon Allen.

    Tami has now taken two of Shannon’s dogs, given her $700 in pet store gift cards ($100 per dog), dog toys and medicine, about 200 lbs of dog food AND had Shannon sign statements that the dogs are hers, not DDB’s and the vet bills are completely her responsibility.


    Yet Shannon runs to her blog, Facebook and Chipin saying that Tami has done nothing for her, all while posting pictures of the food and gifts Tami gave her, lying that her “supporters” gave it to her and that DDB “stuck her with the bill” for the vet.

    All Tami has to do is post the video to take Shannon down and expose her for what she is – a manipulating liar – and all of her minions will dump her as their savior. But Tami resists, because as much as Shannon has attacked her, Tami feels the past is the past. But the video and pictures exist (I have some) and if Tami continues to allow this attack on her to continue, I will post them.

    Anyone who donates to Shannon is giving her free money. Right now she’s posting very old pictures of mange that her dog once had in an effort to get money. Oh, and Ismay, who has supposedly every illness known to man (recently an abcess, now needing dental work) – that dog is Shannon’s poster child.

    Shannon Allen is a fraud, always has been, always will be.


  7. Once again, you post an outstanding article. Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of dogs.


  8. Pat Brett says:

    What a poignant, well written & thought provoking article! I am so happy it was shared on my FB page. Dogs, & ALL animals, DO deserve better. I hope someday people have been efucated enough that there will be no more unsterilized pets, no more abuse, no more homeless babies. ANIMALS ARE LIVING BEINGS, just like us. They feel the same things we feel. Don’t hurt or abuse them. PLEASE, help spread the word & do your best to report cruelty to the proper authorities. And by the way, if you see an animal in need, help it out! They will be so appreciative! Thanks! 🙂


  9. NoChains! says:

    Please know that ”Kyle” is either Shannon Allen or Suzanne Fiala. They are very well known for creating fake profiles. They all post the same thing, same verbiage, etc. Great article, btw! DDB has only grown stronger in their number of supporters, and the donations are steadily flowing in. It’s pretty ironic, a group of so-called ”animal advocates” are trying to destroy an organization that has helped save the lives of 1,000’s of dogs, and continue to do so. It is also through THEIR hate page that DDB has gained new supporters. People that used to support the haters, are now sending private messages to DDB supporters apologizing, and thanking DDB.


  10. Jeff says:

    *name removed* is once again hiding behind fake profiles. Kyle is neither Allen or Fiala, they have moved on. *name removed* is the hater.


  11. DDBFormerFan says:

    Kyle, thank you for the articles. DDB is about to be investigated. The truth will come out.


    • yelodoggie says:

      NOTE TO THOSE MAKING COMMENTS: Comments from “Jeff”, “DDBFormerFan” and “Kyle” were all posted from the same email address. BUSTED!


    • NoChains! says:

      There is nothing to investigate. All of you keyboardwarriors just sit on your computer saying things like ”its about to happen” or ”just wait” or ”about to be investigated”. Your scare tactics are not very scary.


    • iamwillis789 says:

      And if you’re the person who called the Dept of Ag, Shannon, they just did a surprise inspection and guess what? DDB passed with flying colors!!


  12. DDBFormerFan says:



  13. Hal says:

    Monica Severy was announced as the $5,000 monthly donation.


  14. Hal says:

    I do have to wonder who owns the place. I checked the Surry County website and the information posted above is accurate.


  15. Patty says:

    These pictures are disgraceful and so disturbing to say the least- You have to wonder about the people who leave an animal this way- Ignorance personified….HOW?! HOW can they treat animals this way?! Being a woman I’m incredulous that the females of these homes allow it…where is the compassion, the pity, the FEELINGS? My God, to see a dog’s bones like that – to leave a collar cut into the skin…IT’S SICKENING!!!!



  16. Sarah says:

    The people who do this should be chained to a tree, water just out reach in the hot sun. I volunteer!


  17. Kylie Pascoe says:

    A big thank you for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.


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