SPCA New Zealand
Animal Advocacy

Chained Dogs

Animal Advocacy

Chained Dogs

The Problem

The prolonged tethering or confinement of dogs is an issue that our inspectors deal with daily. While it is difficult to gather accurate numbers, it is safe to say this issue impacts the lives of thousands of dogs in New Zealand.

Tethering or chaining a dog describes the tying of a dog with a rope, line, or chain to a fixed stationary point (also referred to as ‘life chaining’ when prolonged). Close confinement of a dog describes a situation where a dog is contained in an enclosure or cage that provides insufficient space to meet their physical, health and behavioural needs.

The current legislative and regulatory framework restricts animal welfare Inspectors’ ability to intervene in many of these cases. SPCA has raised the issue of prolonged tethering and confinement of dogs with MPI and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee consistently over a number of years calling for better protections for these dogs.

The Solution

SPCA advocates for new, directly enforceable regulations via an amendment to the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018.

Last year, over 20,000 New Zealanders called for action through our Break the Chain campaign. This resulted in the drafting and public consultation of a number of proposed tethering regulations, bringing these dogs one step closer to a better life.

Earlier this year, the Government closed the public consultation period on these regulations. Although SPCA, other animal welfare organisations and many members of the public submitted on the proposed regulations, little has been communicated publicly since then and we are concerned this issue may have dropped down the priority list.

We are so close but progress appears to have stalled. We now are calling for all New Zealanders to take action once more and demand the change.

The timeline

2015-2017 SPCA calls for dog tethering regulations through written submissions and MPI stakeholder workshop

2018 Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations were released but the final regulations did not address prolonged tethering or confinement of dogs

2021 December SPCA submits Policy Brief to Associate Minister of Animal Welfare calling for Amendment to the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 to address the issue of prolonged tethering and confinement through regulations

2022 April SPCA submits in support of the Chained Dog Awareness New Zealand petition which called for an end to life chaining of dogs and was signed by more than 29,000 people

2022 July SPCA “Break the Chain” campaign sees more than 20,000 New Zealanders take action to call for better protections for chained and caged dogs

2022 August Petition Select Committee Report supports introducing regulations to address prolonged tethering and confinement of dogs

2023 February MPI opens public consultation on draft dog tethering regulations, with the consultation period closing in March


Stay in touch

Following our campaign to change the law around chaining of dogs in July 2022, new regulations were drafted and put up for public consultation in early 2023. However, progress seems to have stalled, while dogs all over the country continue to suffer.

15,000 people co-signed our letter to the Minister in August 2023, demanding decisive action to improve the lives of these innocent animals. We will deliver this letter to the Minister in September.

Sign up for updates on the dog tethering regulations, other SPCA advocacy work, and other ways you can help create a better life for animals.

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