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Activists unchain animal issues
Register & Bee staff writer
March 14, 2006

DANVILLE, Va. - Animals living their lives at the ends of chains is the most serious issue facing the animal community in the area.

That was the consensus of local animal professionals, activists and enthusiasts during a meeting Monday night at the Danville Orthopedic Clinic. The group came together to discuss their concerns related to the care of animals in the Danville-Pittsylvania County area.

"It's time to put a stop to some things that are happening in this area," said Paulette Dean, executive director of the Danville Area Humane Society.

To bring her point home, Dean displayed graphic photos to the group of about 25 depicting the state of affairs for many of the area's animals. There was the chained dog that hung itself trying to leap the fence to get a drink of water. There was a picture of a chained dog lying on its back with its tongue hanging outside its mouth. The dog was unable to swallow. Its owner had placed a clothesline wire around its neck.

Dean said chained dogs are the No. 1 reason she and other humane society staffers are called to intervene in animal situations.

While the Virginia State Code requires owners who keep their animals on chains to use a chain three times the length of the dog, the Humane Society will not allow residents who indicate they plan to chain animals to adopt them.

Humane society board member Mary Hirtle said the problem was with people who viewed animals as property, rather than "living, breathing, feeling" creatures.

"They get a pet for all the wrong reasons," said Hirtle, who also works with Collie Rescue of the Carolinas.

One participant stressed that the penalties for those who commit crimes against animals should be much stiffer. Dean said Danville had one of the highest conviction rates in the state in animal cruelty cases.

The group discussed presenting a plan to Danville City Council within the next few months to get all dogs off chains within the next 10 years. Participants also discussed working collectively on a brochure to promote spaying and neutering.

Contact Jonnelle Davis at
or (434) 791-7984.

Defending Those Who Cannot Defend Themselves  - DDB Rep Puerto Rico


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