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New rules for dog owners who chain their pet

By: Stephanie Guadian
EL PASO, Texas -- While covering the Borderlands September flooding, a KFOX 14 news photographer found not one -- but two dogs chained to cars.

They were not far away from a sinkhole growing bigger by the minute. The pair was saved. But, its dogs like these inspiring animal rights groups to bring an end to the controversial practice of chaining a dog.

Dogs Deserve Better is a national organization. Locally, Chain-free Las Cruces Dona Ana County has a Facebook page. Both are part of a growing movement to improve the lives pets.

Linda Tierney is a dog owner who lives in Las Cruces. She knows firsthand, you dont have to drive far in the Borderland to spot a chained dog.

It breaks my heart to see pets ignored and on a chain for hours and hours and day after day and no attention, says Linda Tierney.

Dona Ana County Commissioners are giving chained dogs some attention. The board recently passed a revised version of the animal control ordinance.

Dogs must not be chained to a stationary object for more than two hours in a 12-hour period. The chains, or tethers, must be at least 12 feet in length. They have to have a swivel, and weigh no more than one-eighth of the animal's body weight.

I don't think it is right to chain dogs for a very long time. They need to run around and get water and food. And if they are chained, they can't really roam around or get exercise, said dog owner Maria Rodriguez.

Others we talked to agree but wonder how the ordinance will be enforced.

Las Cruces dog owner Jaime LaPage has his doubts. People who chain their dogs up they are just going to hide their dogs in the back. Chain them up in the back. They don't have enough code enforcers or animal control, said LaPage.

Still, the movement to free chained dogs is growing. Hollywood actor Adrian Zmed made the case in a Dogs Deserve Better video.

Dogs all over this country are living as prisoners. Yet, longing to be pets. They are chained eating, drinking, sleeping even defecating all within a 10-feet radius, said Zmed.

According to the group animal protection of New Mexico, a dog deprived of social contact with other dogs and humans can become bored, frustrated, anxious and aggressive. And like other animal activists, members agree a life lived in chains is no life.



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