The Montreal SPCA is lobbying the Quebec government to ban dogs from being tied up or chained outside around the clock.
The group held a rally in Montreal Saturday as part of its new campaign to raise awareness about the "inhumane and unsafe" practice.
"It is detrimental to dogs’ physical and psychological well-being. Chained dogs are at increased risk of injuring themselves and are frequently neglected," says Cut The Chain, a website run by the animal welfare organization.
Tethered dogs are also exposed to the elements, more likely to display aggressive behaviour because they can't flee, and often suffer from parasites like fleas or intestinal worms, it says.
Sophie Gaillard, the SPCA's lawyer and animal advocacy campaigns manager, said one-third of the complaints received by the Montreal SPCA's cruelty investigation unit concerns chained dogs.
Quebec introduced an overhaul of the province's animal-rights legislation earlier this year that, if passed, would see the status of animals upgraded from "movable property" to "sentient beings."
The SPCA wants a ban on dogs spending every day tied up included in the bill. Thousands of people have signed an online petition addressed to the Quebec's minister of agriculture supporting the call for the ban.
But the SPCA's proposal may face opposition from some groups including the province's sled dog community, who commonly keep dogs outside on tethers.
Bernard Saucier, president of Quebec's Sled Dog Club, says anti-tethering campaigns are based on a lack of understanding, and maintains that his dogs are happier and healthier tied outside near their friends than stuck in a house all day.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have recently passed legislation which bans 24/7 tethering, as have some municipalities across Canada.
With files from The Canadian Press
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