Virginia Volunteers, Chained
Leggett, Lisa Hetrick, & Terra Gilley
Patti Stinson, Reston, VA, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation
Kat Simons from Lite 98.1 radio
July 1st from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4323 Bridgewood Rd. (288 and Hull near Wal-Mart)
804-306-0418 - cell
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.
has bite.You live here long enough, and you’re bound to
get slapped on occasion.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
think that in Virginia we’re way behind in animal welfare,
and providing a better way of life for animals,” opines
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
can now accept donations over the phone
using a major credit card at 1.877.636.1408.
you'd like to donate via regular USPS mail, you may print
form in .pdf
format, and send to P.O. Box 23, Tipton, PA 16684