On Outdoor Tethering…

22 Jan

Over the holiday break, there were quite a few interesting animal related news stories in our area. But none quite caught my attention as much as this one did. The long and the short of it is: a family was out buying groceries to cook their Christmas meal. They brought their Cavalier King Charles spaniel out with them for the errand, and upon arriving at the grocery store, tethered the dog outside the store while they finished their shopping, leaving the dog entirely unsupervised.

The dog was stolen.

Of course, my immediate response was to feel pity for the family. I would be devastated if I ever lost Lucy. But after thinking more about this whole situation, I kept getting more and more irritated. Wouldn’t the dog never have been stolen if they had simply left it at home while running their errands? Would their “7 yr old little girl” avoided heartbreak if Mom or Dad had just waited outside with the dog? Most likely.

Tethering dogs outside stores and coffee shops is rampant in New York City. We, as New Yorkers, try to multitask as much as we can. Many of us lead very busy lives, and have a lot to accomplish on any given day. If we can do two or more of those things at once, we’ll all almost take that opportunity. But is efficiency worth risking the safety and welfare of one of your beloved family members? Or, worse yet, risking the safety and welfare of the other people and animals in your community?

By tethering a dog unattended outside, not only are you putting that dog in harm’s way, as we’ve seen from this story, but that dog could become so stressed out and upset by seemingly being abandoned, that it could uncharacteristically lash out at passers-by.

The Cavalier was eventually returned, after what we’re sure was a very harrowing journey for the small pup. We hope that this family learned a valuable holiday lesson this year, and wont make the same mistake twice. For their sake and their dog’s sake. But we wish that New Yorkers would take the morale of this fable very much to heart.

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5 Responses to “On Outdoor Tethering…”

  1. abbi January 22, 2013 at 10:29 AM #

    I agree with you, anything could happen when a dog is unsupervised in a public place. I don’t trust people enough for that! 🙂

  2. barbarajkennedy1014 January 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM #

    I agree with you as well . Besides actual theft of dog, there are so many other unsafe situations created. In my area, many people tie their dogs to parking meters. The lack of parking skills, and people jumping out of the car half on top of the dog are scary and dangerous. Many of the dogs are stressed and bark nonstop, causing some passing dogs to react. Make a second trip out or go with someone who can watch your dog.

  3. Debora January 22, 2013 at 2:23 PM #

    If you wouldn’t leave your child unsupervised, you shouldn’t leave your dog.

  4. Jackie Cangro January 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM #

    Thank you for addressing this issue. I live in NYC and every time I walk by a dog tethered to a parking meter or a bench outside the store, my heart sinks a bit. It takes seconds for some unscrupulous person looking for a reward to untie the pup and walk off. Sometimes I even see dogs in precarious spots – near traffic or on busy corners where they could easily get hurt.

    Bottom line: It’s just not worth it.

  5. rachel January 23, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

    I agree. My mom once convinced me to tie the dogs up for a short time outside a clothing store in a safe suburban area. 5 minutes later Kaya marched up to me in the store as she had chewed through the leash. I’ll lever do it again. I actually bring them in stores with me now as I have yet to be turned away from a non-food selling store.

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