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(KSL News/KCSG) This weekend, dog lovers in all 50 states are sending a message to those who keep their dogs chained up most of the time.
We're not talking about putting on a leash or chain and taking your dog for a walk to the park. This is about dogs who spend most of their entire lives chained up in the backyard, getting little attention.
People driving past Laid Back Larry's Coffee Shop in Kanab saw something unusual this weekend. Next to the parking lot, under a canopy, humans were chained up to some dog houses.
Tom Corrigan, president of the Humane Society in Fredonia, Arizona, said, "We're just being chained up for eight hours. You can imagine living your life this way, on a lot shorter chains sometimes, with no shelter above you and no water."
Corrigan, the town manager of Fredonia, Arizona, and head of the humane society there, spent an entire day on the end of a chain, in 105-degree heat, to send a message.
Russ Mead of the Best Friends Animal Society said, "Why we're doing this is to tell folks that if you've got a dog on a chain, that dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite somebody than a dog that's not on a chain."
Julie Castle, also of the Best Friends Animal Society, said, "The point is to help people understand that dogs that are chained up, it's a miserable existence for them. It creates a lot of aggression."
Scenes like this took place all over the nation. This campaign to get dog owners to unchain their animals began five years ago, with a Pennsylvania non-profit group called "Dogs Deserve Better." This year's "Unchain the 50" event hoped to get at least one person in each state to spend an entire day chained up: a humorous visual to draw attention to a serious problem.
Jeff Popowich volunteered to be chained. "If you look at a real dog that's chained up in a backyard, there may not be any people around, may or may not have other dogs around. They may not have shelter or water. It's no life," he said.
Several states have already passed laws to prohibit the tethering of dogs; organizers hope this campaign will encourage more states to do the same.
"Please take your dog off the chain," Mead said. "It's not good for them. It's not good for the community. It makes the community safer if we get them in the backyard or in your house or on your couch."
We checked back with the group in Kanab. The event drew quite a bit of attention. A couple of hundred people stopped by to ask what was going on and received literature from the Best Friends Animal Society.
The group also collected about $2,000 in donations.