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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 25, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Chained dogs

Get off our backs

Editor, The Times:

I read your story on dog tethering with disgust and disbelief [“Should it be illegal to keep dogs chained?,” Times, News, Oct. 21].

Is anyone else tired of this nanny society? Is anyone else tired of having our lives micromanaged by paranoid, meddling know-it-alls who seem to easily get their way with our city and state officials who roll over for every idiotic idea that comes down the pike?

Some people seem to think if they just make enough laws, nothing bad will ever happen. Here’s a newsflash for you: things will happen. It’s called life.

Some are good, some are bad, and no matter how many freedoms you take away, accidents will happen, and that’s a fact of life.

In keeping with your laws, my German Shepherd is already supervised, trained, licensed, vaccinated, leashed and microchipped, and I defy anyone to find even one trace of her poop that is not safely tucked away in a plastic bag.

Therefore, I will tether my beloved dog if I need to, and I certainly do not need any little girl to come over and “counsel” me about it. Contrary to local popular belief, some of us are capable of taking care of ourselves.

— Pati Smith, Seattle

Keep them inside

The Metropolitan King County Council is to be applauded for considering legislation to regulate chaining. This proposal should be supported by anybody who cares about dogs and kids.

In 2005, two dogs who spent their lives chained up killed my 2-year-old cousin, Jonathan Martin, in Suffolk, Va. Jonathan loved dogs and had no idea how dangerous they could be if chained.

Since losing Jonathan, I’ve learned that his death is not an isolated incident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that chained dogs are nearly three times more likely to attack than are dogs not kept chained. Animal behaviorists believe that this is because dogs who are chained are not socialized and become overly territorial and defensive, knowing that they have no means of escaping perceived threats. Since Jonathan was killed, dozens more people across the country — mostly innocent toddlers like my cousin — have been injured or killed by chained dogs.

California and Texas recently enacted laws that restrict the tethering of dogs. Children’s lives may be saved if King County follows suit.

Please, for the safety of children as well as dogs, never chain your dog.

Dogs belong inside with their families, not doomed to a life of frustration and loneliness on a chain.

— Alice Conner, Virginia Beach, Va.

You can’t be serious

Thank you, King County Councilwoman Julia Paterson, for another great idea about “unchaining” dogs at our homes.

While law enforcement and volunteers check the 12 hours that a dog is chained, what a marvelous opportunity for robbers, molesters, felons and mental cases to increase their activities.

Perish the thought that dog owners should ever be responsible. It’s wonderful that the fines for such behavior will not increase. It’s also heartening to hear that we taxpayers get to fund the study about this.

It’s so great that a government entity is thinking up more ways to help us. We are indebted to the Metropolitan King County Council.

— Bill Wippel, Normandy Park

Comments | More in King County Council, Pets

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