Off 2008 • Unchain our World!
Chicago Main Event
Details from the Chicago Chain
Last year we tackled Atlanta
and Seattle as main event venues, this
year we met in the middle of the country and took on Chicago!Or
did Chicago take us on?
At least we now know why it's
called The Windy City!
We could also add the Stormy City...and the
City from Hail...
advocates lived chained for 24 hours, from
11:15 a.m. June 28 through 11:15 a.m. June 29, 2008, suffering
through extremes of the elements from wind to rain, and even
hail! Watch the video, below, or scroll down for articles
about the event:
Dogs Deserve Better
Chain-Off 2008: Unchain Our World!
Dupage County Fairgrounds
June 28-29, 2008
kicked off at 11:00 a.m.; DDB
Founder Tammy Grimesled
the 6th Annual Chain Off Campaign, offering special thanks
to the Chain Off committee, chaired by Susan Hartland (also
Master of Ceremonies), with Cynthia Drobitsch (our
booth queen, gathering 60 exhibitors for the event); instrumental
Wilson, Aden Ryan (graphics, not pictured) and
Monica Schreiber (not pictured), our PR goddess.
Tammy then read Gordon's poem, introduced the 13 Chainees,
and the 24 hours began!
Protest aims to put 'chainers' in doghouse
Advocates against animal abuse tether themselves for 24 hours
June 29, 2008, By Paige Winfield
Metal chains hung from the necks of 10-year-old Samantha Ahlman
of Naperville and her aunt, Julie Ferguson, as they sat cross-legged
in front of a large doghouse Saturday afternoon.
The shelter to which they were tethered was just one of about
a dozen doghouses clustered together on the DuPage County Fairgrounds.
Along with 15 other dog lovers, the two were "chaining" -
spending 24 hours tied to doghouses to protest using the practice
"Just like the dogs that
get chained outside with nothing, we're going to go au naturale," said
Ferguson, who traveled with her husband, Cory, from their home
in West Virginia to participate in the event.
About 25 feet away
from Ferguson sat a similar doghouse and its occupant, Tammy
Grimes. Grimes is the founder of Dogs Deserve Better - a nonprofit
organization that has organized the annual protest for six years.
The group remonstrates chaining dogs and helps owners pay for
fences or dog care instead.
Grimes, 44, started DDB after observing a dog tethered for six
years by her neighbor in Tipton, Penn. She says that chaining
dogs for extended periods of time constitutes abuse, regardless
of whether they are given food, water and shelter.
"Anytime you leave a dog on a chain its entire life, that's
abuse," Grimes said. "I feel like this is a forgotten
cause. Just because dogs technically have a place to live, that's
not necessarily a home."
Grimes and fellow DDB activists
say it's inhumane to isolate dogs by tethering them because of
their social nature. Leaving dogs chained for hours or days leaves
them unhappy and often aggressive, said Susan Hartland, a Seattle
resident who also flew out for the event.
"Chaining is just not a
good alternative because they do become neglected ... they don't
get the interaction they need," Hartland
Hartland, 40, helped Naperville
resident Cynthia Drobitsch, 29, organize the event, which was
held in Atlanta last year. Drobitsch became involved in DDB just
this year when she was searching for volunteer opportunities.
Drobitsch came face-to-face with dog abuse when she had to give
her Siberian Husky to an adoptive family during college. When
she heard the father of the family had been arrested, she went
to their house and found her dog chained to a tree, 20 pounds
lighter and barely able to move.
"We really just brought her back to life," Drobitsch
said. "She was on her deathbed, she didn't lift her head."
Now the owner of a Shiba Inu - a small Japanese breed - Drobitsch
works through DDB to advocate for laws that prohibit chaining
dogs for longer than three hours at a time. While Illinois currently
has no such ordinances, California and Texas recently passed
statewide laws that put specific time limits on chaining and
Pennsylvania and South Carolina are considering similar legislation.
As she worked to organize the event, Drobitsch decided to incorporate
for the first time information booths from rescue groups, pet
food vendors and other businesses and organizations that provide
services for dogs. Rows of several dozen tent-covered tables
stood next to the group of doghouses where the protesters sat.
Most of the doghouses were actually lived in by dogs who were
rescued from abusive situations. But Samantha, who attends Mill
Street Elementary School, built her own doghouse with the help
of her father. She said she was excited to participate when her
aunt suggested the idea.
"I'm just going to think of it as camping," she said.