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12/07/2016, 09:00

Chaining dogs and shock collars to become illegal

Keeping dogs chained to a stationary object or fitting them with collars that give electric shocks will soon become illegal, according to a Bill published by the government.

The proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Act came about after hundreds held a street march calling for stricter legislation while the Nationalist Party submitted a motion to Parliament in May to make the chaining of dogs for long periods illegal.

The issue came to the fore last April after a dog was found with a chain embedded in its neck. 

The draft legislation also bans dogs from being kept tethered in buildings, pens and cages.

It will be illegal to tether, fasten, chain or restrain a dog to any stationary object as its primary means of confinement.

Tethering and chaining refer to the practice of tying a dog up and leaving it unattended. Chaining more specifically tends to refer to the practice of using thick heavy chains to restrain it. Tethering usually involves the partial restraint of a dog on a rope or lighter chain.

Confinement or long-term restraint can severely damage the physical and psychological well-being of dogs

Confinement or long-term restraint can severely damage the physical and psychological well-being of dogs. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained or intensively confined in any way, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive.

It is common for continuously tethered dogs to endure physical ailments. Their necks can become raw and sore, and the collars can painfully grow into their skin.

Dog-lovers will still be able to walk their four-legged friends using a leash under the proposed law.

The ban on tethering or restraining a dog will not apply during veterinary procedures and when dogs are being transported.

The draft makes exceptions for animal welfare officers dealing with aggressive dogs.

It allows them to instruct owners of aggressive dogs to temporarily tether or restrain the dog in order to mitigate any danger.

The Bill says that strangulation and unnecessary suffering through the wearing of a collar to any dog shall be banned, and “adequate” collars should be used.

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