In letters sent last week on PETA's behalf, Wanda Sykes urges the mayors and city council members of Suffolk and Newport News to follow the leads of nearby Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, and her native Portsmouth and enact legislation that bans or significantly restricts the continuous chaining of dogs.
As Sykes explains, forcing highly social pack animals to live their lives at the end of a chain is both cruel and dangerous since chained dogs are more likely to become aggressive and attack people, children especially.
“Dogs ask for so little yet give us so much. The very least that we can do for them is to pass a law that protects them from the cruelty of being chained their entire lives,” writes Sykes. “I truly hope that Newport News [and Suffolk join] dozens of other U.S. jurisdictions—including my hometown of Portsmouth—that have passed anti-chaining laws in response to public safety and animal welfare concerns.”
PETA responds to more chained-dog cases in Suffolk than in any other city in the area, but the 24/7 chaining of dogs is also common in Newport News. Just this winter, a PETA fieldworker found two malnourished dogs chained in a Newport News backyard with no access to food or water. Just feet away lay the body of a third dog who, as revealed by a necropsy, had starved to death. PETA has since filed charges against the homeowner.