Houston Huts4Mutts has been bringing relief to Houston’s chained dogs for almost four years. Aliesha Medley strongly believes one of the cruelest things you can do to a dog is to leave them to spend their entire lives at the end of a chain or tether.
Why then are so many dogs sentenced to live such lives of misery? Why even get a dog if only to banish it to a backyard, where it can be exposed to the elements, attacked by predators, and become tangled to the point of strangulation? Aliesha , is one of the few staunch advocates for the strays and chained dogs that make up a large part of Houston’s impoverished communities.
According to Aliesha, there are thousands of dogs living on chains in the greater Houston area. Some of the chains are extremely heavy and locked on their necks with a padlock. Some of the dogs are restricted to a two-foot chain; no food, water, or adequate shelter, sitting in their own filth, their bodies covered with flea bites and mange.
So why is this allowed to happen when the state law specifically says that dogs cannot be tethered on a chain, only a nylon, lightweight tether or rope? It also states, no dog can be tethered between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.. and they must have ten feet of unimpeded movement, food and water.
Although this law is on the books, in Aliesha’s experiences, no ordinance citation has ever been given to an owner who violates these stipulations. From her work in the field, Aliesha has discovered many of these dogs reside in junk yards or in backyards so filled with garbage, the dogs cannot move in any direction without getting tangled. This often results in death.
Another tragic aspect in all of this, female dogs are giving birth to puppies among the trash and garbage or in filthy sheds. Many of the puppies die because of the unclean environments. Aliesha decided one way she could help these chained dogs and help prevent even more puppies from being born into unacceptable conditions was to build dog houses and distribute them among the impoverished communities.
In 2015 she founded Houston Huts4Mutts a 501 ( c ) 3 with the following mission:
“Our primary and immediate mission is to ease the suffering of dogs living on chains in Houston’s impoverished neighborhoods and prevent one more puppy from being born into bondage. The core principle of Huts 4 Mutts is built on the belief that if we educate with love and compassion, we can build a relationship of trust and educate by example. Ultimately, we hope to show the owners how a dog can become a loved member of the family and not just a thing chained to a tree or bred for profit. We realize we are up against many generations of deeply held beliefs, but we are committed to the long game.”
What started with a few doghouses quickly blossomed, and soon they were inundated with requests to help many suffering dogs. Aliesha builds all of the dog houses herself due to a background in house construction. The approximate cost per house is $55 and are a basic design of plywood and 2×4’s. They also offer kits so others can build the houses as well and conduct building days several times a year.
Besides building houses for the dogs, Huts4mutts also offers spaying service for the female dogs. Aliesha strongly believes that spaying and neutering dogs is the key to ending euthanasia of unwanted dogs in the shelter system. They also work to “break the chains” of tethered dogs by providing dog owners with softer nylon collars and tethers to replace the heavy chains.
Since its inception in 2015, Houston Huts4Mutts has built and given away 720 dog houses and performed 1900 spays. They could not have done it without help from the community and their team of volunteers. But, like any other non-profit advocacy group they rely heavily on donations. According to Aliesha, they never have enough of anything. Padded collars are what they are most in need of.
Although Aliesha and Huts4Mutts are bringing relief to suffering dogs, the problem of dog tethering will not end until every city and every state in the nation not only implements anti-tethering laws on the books, but actually enforce them.
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