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The Humane Society of the United States - Humane Index

    Raccoon Valley Chained Dog
    It is estimated that 42,237* dogs are living their lives on a chain in Iowa alone, most of them with minimal shelter, food or water. A startling 9% of dog owners use chaining as a source of confinement.

    Like Cookie who was seized from Animal Control and brought to RVAS for a second chance. Chained out in the rain, with no water or shelter, Cookie developed an infection that almost cost her, her life. Or Molly, another shepherd, just 1-1/2 years old. Her chain had embedded into her neck so deep it had to be surgically removed. Or Vega, a pit bull who broke her chain looking for love and affection. And got it from an animal control unit who fought for her life. Or the woman who wanted someone to pick up her deceased dog. It had whimpered through the night on it's chain. Their intent was to get it to the vet the next day after work. Instead the dog, died out in the cold. These are all real situations brought to us. Cookie, Vega and Molly were all saved because we intervened. Unfortunately, one life was lost.

    Chained dogs are often neglected because they are simply out of sight, out of mind. Owners are not aware of their dogs daily needs, and they are more likely to die from severe infections, disease and choking. Vets see horrific sites of embedded collars because owners don't notice the dog has outgrown the collar. Most are not spayed or neutered, causing increased frustration for the dog. Statistics show that chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite or maim a child. In most cases the dog is killed after it has bitten.

    The figures are astounding, so why isn't something being done about it? Because most state laws, including Iowa, say it's "ok" to have a dog tethered for any length of time.

    Chained Dog - RVAS - Valentine Heart

    In fact, some cities, require that your dog be confined by tethering, but offer no limit to how long. But RVAS wants to see that changed and we are doing something about it. By partnering with national organizations like Dogs Deserve Better and Unchain Your Dog we can make a difference. Through education, awareness, behavior modification, fence building and legislation, we can save lives.

    Last year our Young Hearts for Animals Youth Program made over 500 valentines to send to chained dog pet owners. This year our goal is $1,000. This is just a mere portion of the 15,000 valentines that will be mailed by Dogs Deserve Better, including literature and viable alternatives to chaining in the hope to get pet owners to reach out and set their dogs free. Working together, we can offer counseling, support, behavior modification, build fences and create new homes when necessary for dogs that would otherwise live their life on a chain or worse, die on one.


    Stop by Petco Stores (Jordan Creek or Buffalo Road) on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13 between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and sponsor a chained dog by purchasing a custom made valentine. Children of all ages will be busy making valentines to your specifications to send to pet owners of chained dogs;


    Buy your Valentine(s) here. Simply choose the number of Sponsorships you would like to purchase and our Young Hearts for Animals youth will make your valentine, seal it and have it delivered to one of Iowa's 42,000+* chained dogs. You can ask your friends, families, coworkers to buy some as well!


    Make your OWN Valentines. If you have a group or school project and want to make your own valentines, see below. Custom made Valentines need to meet the following requirements:

    • Must be no larger than 4" x 8.5" and fit into a standard envelope.
    • Must provide all supplies, including envelopes for mailing.
    • Suggested phrases are: "Bring Me Inside" , "Let me into your home and your Life!", "Please Unchain Me", "Free Me", etc.
    • Valentines can be delivered to Petco Stores (Jordan Creek or 7333 Buffalo Road) in our HAVE A HEART FOR A CHAINED DOG Valentine Box on or before 2:30 pm, February 13.

    Valentines will be sent to pet owners through Dogs Deserve Better's national mailing list with literature offering alternatives to chaining their dog, as well as, people who can help build fences, rehome their pet, and other viable solutions to get their dog into a home...for life.

    Don't forget to share this on facebook, twitter, myspace, blogs. Spread the word. The more valentines we can make, the more chance a dog can have a new from chains!

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    *The figure is estimated using a formula derived from:
    3,002,555 (Iowa population) divided by 2.38 (average people per household) = 1,261,578 total households in Iowa.
    1,261,578 x .37 = 469,307 households who own dogs
    469,307 x 9% = 42,237 chained dogs in Iowa
    Statistics come from the AVMA and DDB websites.

    If you know or are aware of a dog living a life on a chain, you can help us, help them by submitting their name and address. You can remain anonymous.To submit an address of someone who has a dog living a life on a chain, click here.

    If you, or your group or child would like to volunteer on February 13, making valentines, please click here.




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Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary & Rescue
PO Box 312, Des Moines, Iowa 50302 • PO Box 38, Boone, Iowa 50036
Tele: 515.577.1745 • Fax: 1-515.432.1970

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