Pooh Bear Unchained: Nashville Volunteers Build Fences for Tethered Dogs

dogsdeservebetterEvery dog, as the saying goes, has its day. Pooh Bear is no exception.

Pooh Bear, a corgi-shepherd mix, is no longer restricted by the nefarious tether apparatuses that have held him back for so long. On Saturday, February 7th, a volunteer group, Dogs Deserve Better, built a simple metal fence around the backyard where Pooh Bear lives, free of charge. For the first time in (dog) years, Pooh Bear could roam free in his domain and truly enjoy a dog day afternoon.

The Tennessean reports that Dogs Deserve Better, a national nonprofit organization based in Smithfield, Virginia, built two such fences in North Nashville on Saturday. The other dog (who, perhaps out of concern for vicious reprisals from the tether-industrial complex, remains anonymous) will also be able to enjoy the little plot of land that is rightfully his or hers.

According to its website, Dogs Deserve Better seeks to keep dogs untethered “through education, rescue and rehabilition [sic], grassroots legislation, and fencing programs.” Focusing on abused dogs that are chained for long periods of time (even, in many unfortunate cases, years) but also cognizant of good dog owners who lack the means to build a fence for their pets, Dogs Deserve Better works to improve the lives of pooches everywhere.

The group strongly discourages tethering dogs outside for long stretches of time, as it considers the practice a form of animal abuse. Many dog owners agree with the group that fences are the best way to keep a dog outside.

“Providing a fence for a dog is extremely beneficial to pet owners and their pets. It provides a secure environment, safe from intruders, in addition to ‘peace of mind’ for the homeowner,” explained Liz East of Beitzell Fence Co.

However, quite a few owners cannot, for a number of reasons, provide a fence. Therefore, it is common practice to chain the dog to a stationary point with some kind of tether. Although the group does not state if tethering dogs for short periods of time is cruel per se, it is adamant in providing fences to owners who request them as well as offering to help those who do not.

Having a fence installed is an investment for property owners. There are alternative options for smaller budgets such as fencing in a smaller part of the yard to provide the boundaries dogs need to be safe and still give them space to roam freely,” East said. “Chain link and aluminum fencing are preferred options when wanting to keep the perception of space in the yard.”

Saturday’s liberation comes at a time when animal-rights advocates support a bill in the Nashville Metropolitan Council that would actually ban the use of chain tethers to secure a dog outdoors. The bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Karen Bennett, would also ban tethers that are “unreasonably heavy in proportion to the weight of the animal” as well as prohibit tethering dogs outside in freezing temperatures, temperatures matching or exceeding 95 degrees, thunderstorms, and especially tornados.

Her bill also comes with strict guidelines for those owners who do opt for tethering. Among them, a tether must “allow the tethered dog to lie down comfortably at all positions” and must be “free of tangles.”

“This is not anti-tethering,” Bennett said. “This is responsible tethering.” A sentiment, one can assume, Pooh Bear would agree with.

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