Pictures with "Santa Claws" to Benefit Anti-Chaining Efforts

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COLUMBIA - Pets of all shapes and sizes stopped by Lizzi & Rocco's Natural Pet Market Sunday afternoon to grin and give. Lizzi & Rocco's hosted pictures with "Santa Claws" to benefit the Missouri chapter of Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit dedicated to freeing dogs confined to chains and pens. 

Melody Whitworth is a state representative for the national organzation. She said as the temperatures drop, the calls increase.

"I can literally say the past three days I have been on the phone and the computer nonstop," Whitworth said.

Whitworth said the cold weather means more rescues.

"Since this last cold snap this last week, I would say an average of eight to nine a day," Whitworth said. 

Dogs Deserve Better strives to accomplish its mission in three ways. The first is through educating the public about the dangers of chaining and penning. The second is through advocating for humane laws to protect dogs from being confined to a pen or chain. The third is through rescue and rehabilition efforts to improve dogs' lives. This not only includes aiding dogs at their current homes by installing fences, helping with house training and spaying and neutering, but also rescuing dogs and finding them a new home.

Whitworth said sometimes people are unaware of the dangers chaining and penning can pose.

"Some people just don't realize how bad a dog can suffer out in these elements. Dogs with very short fur, they need straw to burrow in to keep warm. We've been out to properties where dogs are literally just sitting there shivering because they don't have enough straw to keep warm. And again, if they're chained and confined in a pen, they can't help themselves."

Whether it is winter or summer, Whitworth has one piece of advice: "Don't chain your dog."