Six Hours in the Day of a Chained Dog

By isak, August 7, 2009

In eight minutes, this video will show you six hours in the life of a dog chained in the backyard without food or water on a day when the temperatures are expected to be 92 degrees. In the morning, the yard is fully shaded, But as the hours pass, the sun comes over the house and the dog loses all access to shade. It’s so sad to watch this dog try to find shade and water, frequently looking towards the house where he knows help is. A man comes out and collects the dog’s food and water bowls, but he puts them on the porch and goes back into the house. You’ll see the dog pacing, trying so hard to find a cool spot to lay and a drink of water.

The video was taken after a whistleblower came forward about this poor dog’s situation. A group worked with the whistleblower to record the dog for 12 hours on a day when the temperature reached 92 degrees. The dog had no water and for several hours, no shade. The dog’s guardian has been fined, but little has changed for this dog since the video was shot. The group is still working with local authorities to seize the dog.

Report chained dogs. To find out how you can help, please contact In Defense of Animals at 503-249-9996.

Groups working to unchain dogs —

  • Coalition to Un-chain Dogs — The Coalition to Unchain Dogs is a non-profit, volunteer effort dedicated to improving the welfare of dogs living outdoors on chains in and around the Triangle region of North Carolina.
  • Dogs Deserve Better — A voice for chained and penned dogs, whose sadness speaks only through the eyes.
  • Unchain Your Dog — Man’s Best Friend Deserves More than Life on a Chain

More info —

The True Story of a Backyard Dog
By Lori Jo Oswald,

Donovan was not a unique dog. He did not pull a child from in front of an oncoming car. He did not bark during a house fire and save an entire family from death. He did not win a ribbon in an American Kennel Club dogs show, or even in a community fun match. Indeed, Donovan was considered quite an “ordinary” dog.

Donovan’s owners could be considered quite “ordinary” too — a young family, two children, several cats. Fourteen years ago they decided to get a dog. A dog would be fun for the kids, Mr. and Mrs. felt. So one day, perhaps at a shopping center giveaway, or maybe in the pet section of the local classified ads, they found Donovan and brought him home.

At first the kids were excited. They played with the little beagle mix in the backyard, throwing him sticks to chase and fighting over who got to feed him. As the summer wore on, though, the children began to fight over who had to feed Donovan.

Mr. built a small house for Donovan, staked it out back and attached his chain to it. Mr. and Mrs. agreed that Donovan would do “just fine” outside, and they wouldn’t have to worry about dog hairs all over the house.

I never met Donovan. Though I’d once been to this house, I didn’t know he existed. Because he was out back. The kids, I was told, couldn’t decide if the last time they walked him was last year or the year before. Donovan lived on a 6-foot chain. He dug holes for entertainment. He dug and dug in his tiny yard. A friend who saw him told me about the circular trench around Donovan’s dog house, as far as he could reach on his short chain.

Oh, but he was “well cared for.” Mrs. complained of the way some people treat their dogs. She “can’t understand” how some people could be so cruel. “We never starved Donovan,” she said proudly, and it’s true that he wasn’t entirely neglected — he was well-fed. And it’s also true that he was not completely ignored — when he barked, someone always yelled.

For 14 years Donovan lived out back on his chain. He ate his fill every night, but still he hungered — for attention and affection. One day he finally escaped his little world of chain and holes and doghouse: the day he died.

Donovan, unfortunately, is not a fictional character. Neither are his owners. They have been going to the local animal shelter lately and are talking about getting another dog. “We sure miss Donovan,” they lament.

(printable PDF version)




  1. isak says:

    Thanks for your response. I don’t know the address for the dog in this video, but you are right about protesting out front. These people should not have a dog and hopefully, In Defense of Animals will be able to get this dog soon. Sadly, these people will probably just go get another one. We are lucky such a caring neighbpr lives next door.

    How try your quote is!


    I could not bear to watch the video, but in the words of the great Martin Luther King we should remember what he said:

    Our lives begin to end the day we stop to talk about the things that matter.

    I hope that one does not forget about this poor dog. We should protest outside the house and expose the scum who lives there for what they are. Sometimes, that is all that works. Unfortunantly, people forget what they cannot see.
    I will protest if you call me. 210-xxx-xxxx

  3. Eric P. says:

    thanks for the write-up on our video and for helping get the word out

    • isak says:

      I am more than happy to do what I can to get the word out on this. How many times did that dog look to the house for help… he/she knew there were people inside and people could help. It was hard to watch! Thanks for your work.

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