Michael Markarian, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund has an interview posted on his blog with Paulette Dean, shelter director for the Danville Area Humane Society (DAHS) in VA who lobbies for anti-chaining laws:
About 10 years ago, we strengthened our adoption guidelines. We knew that it would be a controversial move since we have a high euthanasia rate, but we also knew it was the right thing to do. We were laying a foundation for the future. Adopted dogs cannot roam and be chained, and adopted cats must be kept inside.*butts in* How "high" is your kill rate?
From the data provided on the shelter's website for the year 2008:
Intake: 2005 dogs, 3666 cats, 94 "other" pets
Returned to owner: 140 dogs, 26 cats
Adopted: 243 dogs, 142 cats
By my math, that makes the totals: 5765 pets in, 551 pets out.
Although no numbers are provided for how many pets killed, if we make an assumption that the pets who were neither returned to owners or adopted were killed, that works out to an approximate kill rate of 90%. So yeah, I guess I'd have to agree that the shelter's kill rate is "high", if by "high" you mean "insanely cruel". I can see why you'd want to restrict and thus discourage adoptions.
And the shelter director spends her time lobbying for anti-chaining ordinances? From the shelter's site:
The Danville Area Humane Society is thrilled to tell you that an ordinance was passed unanimously by Danville City Council tonight that bans the constant tethering of companion animals! As of July 1, 2010, it will be illegal to:
Tether a companion animal for more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period,
Tether a companion animal when the temperature is below 32 degrees
Tether a companion animal under 4 months old
Tether any sick or injured animal
Tether any companion animal to a fixed point. (specifics to be made public at a later date)
Well hurrah. I guess the shelter will take in even more pets after this ordinance takes effect. And presumably most all of those will be killed. How "humane".
The shelter's website is full of rhetoric against no kill and reads like a blame-the-public manifesto. The director admits in the interview that Danville "has the highest unemployment rate in the state, and also struggles with low education and high poverty rates." Knowing that, is it truly helpful to restrict pet ownership further by imposing ordinances many owners will be financially unable to meet, especially when seizing those pets means they will most likely be killed?
My feeling is that 24/7 chaining is cruelty and should be prosecuted as such. But chaining for 4 hours or to a "fixed point" (?) is something many responsible pet owners do who can't afford a fence. As long as quality shelter and clean water are provided, I'd certainly rather see a dog chained for part of the day by an owner who loves him than to see the dog in a garbage bag at the DAHS. That is, if we have to choose. And apparently, according to this shelter director, we do.