Coalition to Unchain Dogs: One year, 70 dogs unchained!

This brilliant video captures the triumph of the work of Amanda Arrington, Lori Hensley, and dozens of other volunteers over the past year. They have transformed the lives of dozens of dogs, and in doing so, have been transforming Durham’s neighborhoods.

Two ways you can help the Coalition to Unchain Dogs in the coming weeks:
– Help them raise $10,000 in the Great Human Race, which is next Saturday. As of now, they are 93% towards their goal
– Come to their 2nd annual garage sale, on Saturday, April 12 (see flyer)

On the main website, there are also links for making a regular donation, buying Cafe Press gear, and signing up for their list-serv if you are interested in helping build a fence or just following the progress of the organization.


People who leave their pets out in the cold…

I won’t get into how exactly they make me feel. I see my pets warm and snug and can’t imagine leaving them outside to face the elements, not just tonight but every single day. Unfortunately, a lot of people in Durham have no intention of keep their pets safe from the cold. I imagine a fair number of the local pets kept outside get sick and die, perhaps not right away but soon enough as a result of being left out in the cold.

That’s it…I’ve got to go check on the poor dog across the alley. She had better be okay…

And she’s not. Her barks are muted, she’s sniffling up a storm. Her water is all frozen over.

Her name is Jade, and I think it’s time she made some new friends:


Who wants to foster/adopt a dog, right now?

No comment on the “owner” of this dog. My blood pressure is high enough as it is.

(from a local list-serv)

This poor guy needs a home

We picked up a dog on 9th St. Sunday night after his owner dumped him out of the car and drove off, leaving him chasing behind. We picked him up, cut the rope collar out of his fur, and brought him home. Unfortunately, we already have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a newborn baby, and a small house and can’t keep him, so we’re looking to get him somewhere warm and friendly ASAP. We estimate that he’s 1-2 years old. A black & tan with brendle accents that might include border collie, shepherd/husky, and boxer? He behaves well in the car and on a leash and seems to have a good overall temperament. We’d rather not take him to the shelter if we can find a loving home fast enough. If you’ve got room for a dog, please get in touch soon.

CONTACT: or 919.286.9985

Coalition to Unchain Dogs throws a benefit concert

In positive local news, The Coalition to Unchain Dogs held its inaugural fundraising concert last night in Durham’s Central Park. An enthusiastic crowd of local dog-lovers came out to enjoy the perfect fall evening for an outdoor concert. I’m sure that the organizers had hoped for a larger crowd. However, I think that having pulled off the logistical challenge of holding a five-hour event in downtown Durham without any major snafus, and raking in a few thousands dollars in addition to the invaluable commodity of community awareness and support made this concert a smashing success. Coalition founder Amanda Arrington deserves a lot of credit for getting the issue of dog mistreatment out in the open.

If you missed the concert, you can always donate to the cause online.

I don’t see the unchaining of dogs a merely an animal rights issue. Every time a local dog-owner family learns how to better care for their pet–by getting it spayed or neutered and giving it an untethered existence–the neighborhood, one house at a time, becomes a friendlier, less-threatening place. Others can say this more eloquently than I am. It’s one of those quality-of-life issues…

A young boy who lives across from the street from me always asks, “Does he bite?” when he sees my dog. He’s seen and petted Herman a few dozen times by now, but I guess the impression that he encounters other dogs who aren’t quite so friendly. Kids that grow up among attack dogs are likely to…stab their peers at the mall later in life. Yes, I realize it’s a lot more complicated than that. I lack the time and knowledge to expound further…

Unchaining a dogs is a good start; that’s all I’m saying…

Why I Like Where I Live #7: The Coalition to Unchain Dogs

I just spent a morning helping (well, mostly observing) the Coalition to Unchain Dogs build a fence for two Durham dogs who had previously been chained up. I love what this group does, and I hope to be more involved in the future.

There were plenty of pictures taken of today’s lucky pooches Rocky and Ali, and I’ll post a link to them as soon as the photographer has them up.

And here they are!

In the meantime, here are links to a couple of albums showing the results of the work of the Coalition on a couple of other recent occasions.



And there was an article in the N&O last month about The Coalition to Unchain Dogs.

Michael Vick and Friends

I don’t need to write about Michael Vick anymore. The press has covered the “allegations,” and let’s just assume that, in Fantasy Land, Vick is innocent. It still doesn’t excuse the remarks of others condoning dog-fighting. Two months ago, I expressed my disgust with those pro athletes (and anyone) that treats such matters with ambivalence (Pro athletes = Thugs). I’m putting in a fresh link to my old comments, because I think the reaction from some of Vick’s peers has been as reprehensible as Vick’s alleged behavior itself. And people with these views are probably your next-door neighbors or fathers or brothers. That’s what’s truly scary.

Ok, one more comment about Michael Vick. Nike has suspended the launch of his new shoe. Perhaps they can’t legally “cancel” it, but I would prefer to see the word “indefinitely” preceding the suspension. I won’t buy another Nike product as long as Michael Vick is associated with the company. (Ooh, I’m sure Nike’s scared of your boycott, Toastie! How much Nike merchandise have you bought in your life, $100 worth? Yeah, I know, imagined AOL-sports-forum troll. I’m only one person; but maybe some other people will join me in this pledge).

Michael Vick = Monster

Michael Vick loves watching Buster and Scooby rip each other apart

I touched on this briefly last week, and I don’t want to say much more, because what Michael Vick and others do to dogs and how others think their behavior is acceptable and amusing just sickens me. But I heard some more about this story today, and I don’t think my earlier name-calling went far enough. Michael Vick isn’t just a thug; he’s a monster.

Video game icon Michael VickSay what you will about Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds abusing their bodies and cheating their way to records and perhaps influencing a few kids here or there to put performance-enhancing crap in their bodies. Or consider how one in a million of violent video game addicts might shoot up his school. Then think about how much of role model someone like Michael Vick is, and how the media and general public care little when someone of his stature participates in high stakes dog-fighting and contributes to the abuse of hundreds of dogs in the name of entertainment. Do some quick Psych 101 reading if you’re not familiar with just how likely it is that kids that either participate in or are amused by the abuse of animals will go on to later abuse and injure human beings without remorse.

I don’t give a crap what legal stage this situation is at. I don’t think many people get framed for participating in dog fighting rings and abusing and neglecting dozens of their pets.

I imagine I may suddenly get all these hits from rabid sports fans ready to defend Vick. Good luck getting past the math question you’ll need to answer correctly to post a comment.

Pro athletes = Thugs

I remember my disillusionment nearly twenty years ago when I learned about how Kevin Mitchell, formerly of my beloved 1986 World Series champion New York Mets, had bragged about how he had killed a cat or a dog. (Go Google it; I hate reading the details of such things, so I’m not going to refresh my memory on exactly what Mitchell’s pastime was).

There a certainly a myriad of examples to point to showing the thuggery of professional athletes. I think that getting enjoyment out of the abuse of animals says a great deal about a person.

Skins players ridicule dog fighting as crime (