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Chain Off 2007 Attire!


Midlothian, Virginia Volunteers, Chained

Cindy Leggett, Lisa Hetrick, & Terra Gilley
Patti Stinson, Reston, VA, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation

Kat Simons from Lite 98.1 radio
Midlothian
July 1st from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4323 Bridgewood Rd. (288 and Hull near Wal-Mart)
804-306-0418 - cell
lisa.compton@comcast.net

Chain Reaction

By Paul Spicer
Cindy Leggett (above, left) and Lisa Compton chained themselves for more than eight hours on July 1 as part of a nation-wide protest against a practice they say is inhumane. Photo by Jay Paul.

Richmond has bite.You live here long enough, and you’re bound to get slapped on occasion.

Few will argue with the fact that our sleepy little city by the river becomes the scrappiest when you try to pin it down. Attempt to chain it, and you better duck. So what would lead a handful of Richmonders to render themselves immobile, chained to a doghouse for eight-plus hours on a blistering July day?

The answer is easy—we might be feisty, but we don’t like to see a good Richmonder kept down—friend, foe, or canine. That’s right, we love our dogs and most of us want to see them treated well, if not better, than ourselves.

On July 1, Cindy Leggett and Lisa Compton attached the chain, and began to wait—to wait for a better life for our four legged fur balls. Taking part in the official “Unchain the 50” event, local Fido advocates tapped into the growing movement for freedom for chained dogs all across America.

Leggett, a Virginia representative for Dogs Deserve Better, headed up the charge, garnering media attention, donations, belly dancers, and local celeb dog-lovers like Kat Simmons, a midday disc jockey for Lite 98.

Linked together on a short leash attached to a dog house, Leggett and her counterpart baked for hours under the Richmond sun—not for the media, or shock value, but for change.

“People may think it’s radical, and think that we’re an animal rights group, but we’re not an animal rights group—we’re for overall animal welfare,” explains Leggett.

As the fearless leader of our local Dogs Deserve Better unit, Leggett explains that when a dog is tethered it’s natural for the captive animal to protect the few feet of space it’s allowed, as the would-be friendly pet doesn’t know anything but to instinctually protect his turf. When such a dog finally does experience freedom it often does not understand surrounding stimuli due to a lack of socialization, and anything can look like prey.

“I think that in Virginia we’re way behind in animal welfare, and providing a better way of life for animals,” opines Leggett.

A gander at statewide stats proves that Leggett might just be right. From October 2003 through May of this year, 139 children have been seriously injured—some actually killed—by dogs, all of which were chained or had been chained.

In an attempt to raise awareness that dogs that live their life on the end of a chain 24-7 are both mentally and physically tormented, Leggett hatched the local Dogs Deserve Better chapter. As she rounded up River City pooch lovers to participate in the local event, at least another 108 people in 36 other states also lived chained to a doghouse for 8 to 24 hours.

Dogs Deserve Better has held its annual “Chain Off” around the July 4 holiday for the past 5 years, effectively raising awareness about a practice that is still widely accepted, but increasingly recognized as one of the worst forms of abuse to which a dog can be subjected: keeping it prisoner for life.

Anti-chaining campaigns aren’t just for grassroots advocates, even the American Veterinary Medical Association has stated: “Confine your dog in a fenced yard or dog run when it is not in the house. Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also chimed in, and is quick to point out that a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog.

Here in River City though there is hope, says Leggett. “There seems to be a lot of college students and younger adults that are gung-ho and are really wanting to push for better welfare for animals.”

http://www.dogsdeservebetter.com

Note from Lisa:

"We had a local news station come out, Channel 8, and interview us.  They aired us at 6 and 11 on Sunday night and again this morning.  It was a great day, the weather was perfect.  We had alot of car traffic and people actually stopped came up and asked about our event and DONATED to the cause!!  In the slide show are also pictures of two dogs that are chained next door to where we had our chainoff.  The owners are horrible nasty creeps that absolutely will not listen to us.  I haven't given up yet tho.  I want to thank Jamie Buckmaster and her family for hosting this event.  All three of her children had their DDB t-shirts on and were fantastic.  I also want to thank Pure and To the Earth belly dancers.  I can't begin to describe how wonderul their shows were.  And of course, all of the volunteers who drove all way down to Chesterfield County to chain themselves.  Thank you everyone.  I'm already planning for next year.  I've been in contact with the governor's office to see about our event taking place on the Richmond capitol grounds!!! "—Lisa Hetrick, DDB Virginia Area Rep

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