Ending ‘a lifetime chained up’, Alabama animal advocates push anti-tethering legislation

Article by: Cynthia Gould

April 7, 2021


Animal advocates ask why have a dog if it will be chained up outside its entire life with little interaction or love. They call it cruelty.

“Teaching people compassion might lower violence,” says Dana Darby with Pound on the Hill Animal Rescue in Bessemer.

She’s been driving and walking the streets of Bessemer for years doing what she can to help strays, neglected and abused animals. Darby often works alone and tells us she was shot at a few weeks ago while on a rescue.

She came back to Bessemer years ago to care for a sick relative and says she couldn’t leave with the animal situation like it is.

“We’ve gotten dogs off the chain, moved them toward the house, then inside. Owning a dog is privilege. I would like to see the culture go in that direction,” remarks Darby. She sees dogs on heavy chains behind many homes. Sometimes there is little food or water and scarce shelter. Darby explains the owners tell her often the dogs are for protection, but she asks how is a dog chained outside in the backyard protecting you?

She’s non-confrontational offering education, training and quite a few dog houses along the way. At times though she is frustrated by the lack of progress in animal welfare.


“When people care at the top it trickles down,” says Darby. ABC3340 News couldn’t find anyone at the top of Bessemer city leadership to talk with us about efforts to control strays. It’s not uncommon to see puppies roaming freely around vacant lots.

Bessemer animal advocates push for laws to prevent what they call “cruelty.” (abc3340.com)

We were told an anti-tethering law maybe in the works, but the mayor’s office could not confirm that.

Over the past few months we’ve also been alerted to horrible animal abuse cases in the city. One case involved the remains of a dead dog in a backyard being eaten by another dog. Neighbors say their repeated calls went unanswered until a post on social media. We also could not reach Bessemer Police for comment.

“We’ve seen several starved dogs, stripped and skinned alive,” recalls Darby. And while to some it may seem a hopeless battle, Darby will not give up. “We domesticated them, it’s our responsibility to take care of them.”

Darby estimates there are a thousand strays running loose in the city of Bessemer. She says the city needs an animal shelter although she understands money is tight.

Many cities like Birmingham, Mobile and Jasper have adopted anti-tethering laws. A state lawmaker has proposed an anti-tethering law for Alabama. Republican house member Russell Bedsole has not returned phone calls about his bill, but legislative records show it is still pending in committee. (HB551)


For full article, visit ABC3340.com


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