James Island dog to become Unchained
Angel has had a good life with Robert Jenkins.
The James Island man found the pup hiding under his cousin’s car on a rainy day about four years ago and decided to keep her.
Since then, the pooch has received lots of care and attention from Jenkins, 21, and support from Pet Helpers in the form of low-cost spaying and kibble from its food bank.
Jenkins, who works for a fast-food chain, also has become a Pet Helpers volunteer and works in his neighborhood as an advocate for animals.
“I was scared of her at first,” Pet Helpers Operations Manager Kristin Kifer said of Angel. “When Robert brought her in to be spayed, he had to hold her so we could sedate her. Since then, he’s done a lot of work with her, and now she’s a great dog.”
But because Jenkins and Angel live with his grandmother on busy Central Park Road, Angel spends nearly all her time on a chain in the front yard. When she’s not on the chain, she runs the risk of being hit by a passing car.
Now Angel is about to become the recipient of Pet Helper’s third “Unchain Charleston” project.
Unchain Charleston is a new program that provides six-foot-tall, 20-by-30-foot chain link enclosures for dogs whose owners can’t afford to build their own fences. The Pet Helpers’ program kicked off in April with plans to build one kennel a month.
“Angel is the exact kind of candidate we’ve been looking for,” said Lauren Lipsey, manager of public relations and outreach for Pet Helpers.
She said Pet Helpers is looking for dogs who are always chained outside, but are not neglected by their owner.
“This program is geared toward keeping pets in their homes,” Lipsey said. “It is for dogs who are loved and who have been taken care of as best the owners can.”
Lowe’s of James Island donated the tools and the first fence, and is providing additional fencing at below cost, Kifer said.
Dogs that are part of the program also are given medical exams and shots at Pet Helpers before their enclosure is built.
“A lot of people lack the understanding of what being on a chain does to a dog,” said Leigh Handal, director of philanthropy and partnerships at Pet Helpers.
When Angel is on her chain, she tries to “run and pop it,” Jenkins said. She barks more and becomes more aggressive.
Dogs in fenced areas can interact better than dogs on chains, Lipsey said.
“Having this invites dogs to be members of the family,” she said. “It will calm her so everybody can enjoy Angel.”
Studies have shown that a chained or tethered dog is nearly three times more likely to bite than a dog who is not chained or tethered, according to the ASPCA.
Chained or tethered dogs often have sporadic feedings, empty water bowls, inadequate veterinary care and exposure to weather extremes. They are also forced to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in the same confined area.
They could be strangled if their chain becomes tangled and they are helpless to defend themselves against abuse from humans or other animals.
Work on Angel’s kennel will start Tuesday with a trough around the area to prevent digging and installation of the posts. It will be completed on July 7.
“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep an animal in its home,” Handal said.
To suggest someone to be a recipient of Unchain Charleston or to donate, call Pet Helpers at 795-1110.