Building change in the community

Published 9:31 pm Thursday, August 24, 2017

When a city ordinance was passed in December 2015 that banned chaining dogs, one of the top concerns was how pet owners would afford the cost of fencing.

On Tuesday, the city council received an update on how that concern is currently being addressed by a local group founded by the same activist that encouraged the city to create the ordinance. Evie Kettler founded the nonprofit Paws 4 Chainge in January in order to help pet owners build fences for dogs.

“One of the concerns that the city council had when I stood in front of you in 2015 was how would people afford fencing,” Kettler said. “I was determined to find a way to help, and during my research, I found a nonprofit organization that builds fences for chained dogs. From the moment I found them, I knew it was a model I wanted to mirror.”

Kettler founded Paws 4 Chainge in order to organize volunteers and resources to help pet owners be able to replace chains with fences and gain healthier, happier dogs in the process.

Paws 4 Chainge is based on the model of another group called Fences for Fido, which builds fences for dogs in Oregon. Dogs will not be the only ones to benefit from the fencing though.

“Chaining of animals is not only cruel to the animals — keeping dogs chained up 24/7 is not a life — public safety is also much improved when animals are socialized, and when they are not kept chained up,” said Deborah Berger, state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “This particular ordinance that you (on the city council) passed has so many benefits.”

The city council was interested to hear about the program.

“The concern being raised to afford fencing is a legitimate concern, and something that through your work and through your nonprofit are (being) addressed,” Mayor James Thornton said.

“That is a great example of citizens taking action to improve their community.”

The program has only built one fence so far, but Kettler hopes with community support Paws 4 Chainge will be able to relieve the financial burden of building fences from pet owners.

“Rather than citing people who can’t afford to get their dogs off chains, this is an excellent example of putting your ideas into action,” Berger said.

Berger also commended LaGrange’s animal control officers at the meeting for their efforts to keep the community and the animals in it safe.

In addition to Paws 4 Chainge, Kettler has also been seeking local support for an ordinance to ban chaining within the county similar to the city ordinance. To learn more about Paws 4 Chainge, visit its page on Facebook.