Doghouses Are Evil, And Crating Your Dog Has Become A Crime
Alex Ballingall writes for Macleans about the shift from dogs being working animals to surrogate children, and how societal attitudes have changed to where previously accepted practices like crating and using doghouses are now considered pet abuse.
Ballingall opens his piece with the story of Nova Scotia man, Robbie Fowler, who lives out in the country. He has two golden retriever mixed breeds living on chains in the yard. They have a doghouse, but "don't even go in...half the time," says Fowler. "What they are is hunting dogs":
That's why Fowler keeps Buddy and Magnum on chains about 15 feet long. These are attached to "big long-run ropes" that Fowler says allow Buddy and Magnum to move up and down the yard while preventing them from straying out to the road and getting hit by a car. "They run around and get plenty of exercise," says Fowler.
One day in February, a cruelty investigator from the SPCA turned up at Fowler's door. Animal rights activists in the area have been filing complaints against Fowler for more than a year, telling authorities that the way he keeps his dogs is causing them to suffer social isolation and confinement. The investigator surveyed Fowler's yard, taking note of the run ropes and the insulated doghouse with a shingle roof that Fowler built for Buddy and Magnum. "He said: 'Your dogs cannot get tangled up, they have a good long run, they have a nice house. I don't know what they're calling for,' " Fowler recalls. The investigator left after concluding Buddy and Magnum were well-fed and cared for.
Over the years, the boundary between animal cruelty and kindness has moved, and some of us didn't even notice. The days when dogs were sentries first and pets second are long gone. Even the junkyard dog has largely disappeared, replaced by video surveillance technology. Now we buy them organic food, seatbelts for the car, orthopaedic beds for the house, and take them to physiotherapists when they get arthritis. And the age-old practice of tying a dog up in the backyard or leaving it in a crate to housebreak it are as morally abhorrent to some as putting a child on a halter or keeping it in a playpen all day.