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Buster had spent most of his young life all alone, chained up outside, through every type of weather. The little dog’s back was covered with bald patches, and because his owner hadn’t bothered to loosen the chain that was wrapped around his neck as he grew, it had become deeply embedded in his skin—leaving a raw, infected and extremely painful wound.

But one day, Buster’s life changed forever: His owner gave him to PETA.

Buster will never spend another lonely night on a chain. But countless other dogs are still out there, tethered in backyards across the country. This January—Unchain a Dog Month—they’re depending on us to do more than just shake our heads and say, “How sad.” They need us to step up, speak up and help them.

If you see a chained dog in immediate danger—one who is very thin, ill or injured or lacks adequate shelter, food or water—or if chaining is illegal in your area, please call police and/or animal control officials immediately. Don’t ever assume someone else will take action—you may be the dog’s only hope.

Many chained dogs’ living conditions are miserable but not illegal. Our best hope of helping them is to get anti-chaining legislation passed. If chaining isn’t already illegal in your community, please write, call or meet with your elected representatives to encourage them to join the more than 280 communities across the U.S. that have banned or restricted dog chaining.

We can also make a difference for individual chained dogs right now, by working with their owners to improve their living conditions. Offer to take dogs for walks, ask if you can give them toys or treats, and politely share with the owners that you recently learned that dogs who live outdoors in the cold need extra food and a sturdy doghouse elevated off the ground, stuffed with straw and with a flap over the entrance. There are countless ways to help.

Many dogs’ lives have been improved or changed completely because someone cared enough to get involved.

Every dog deserves to know that kind of love. By getting involved, we can make that possible for other dogs like Buster, right in our own communities.

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Lindsay Pollard-Post is a senior writer for the PETA Foundation.

Print Headline: Ch-ch-changes and chains

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