People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been working in the county for more than 11 years, said Rachel Bellis.
With eight fieldworkers in the county, the organization has provided doghouses, straw bedding, food water and basic preventive care.
The work has also included replacing heavy chains with lightweight tie-outs and placing billboards which warn against flystrike and other heat-related maladies.
“Many dogs are forced to live outside,” Bellis said. “Many don’t have sufficient shelter.”
Enfield, Roanoke Rapids, Weldon and Scotland Neck have banned 24-7 tethering but, Bellis said, “There are a lot more dogs outside of the city limits. We have a great relationship with law enforcement.”
She said, however, PETA needs help from business owners to show support for ending tethering in the county.
In a statement leading up to the event, PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said, “Every day, PETA visits lonely dogs who have been left to suffer at the end of a chain in Halifax County without shade, shelter, fresh water, companionship, and other necessities. This networking event will be a chance for compassionate Halifax County movers and shakers to learn how they can help raise the bar for animal welfare in the county."
Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham spoke on behalf of the organization. “Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t particularly care is their dog is tied to a chain, unable to get any exercise; get fed on a regular basis; has no fresh water to drink.”
Meacham said some owners don’t care whether their dogs have no shelter from the sun, cold, snow or rain. “Some dogs are completely void of any type of attention or interaction with their owners.”
Said Meacham: “It is heartbreaking and a sad situation that innocent dogs are being mistreated by their owners in today’s society. It is inexcusable and unaccepted to those of us who love and cherish our dogs.”
The mayor said the tethering ban has worked well in the town. “Now Weldon has a part-time animal control officer that patrols … and makes sure that everyone stays in compliance with the rules and regulations set by PETA. We no longer have dog owners having 12 doghouses located behind their homes at the back of their lots with chained pit bulls. These dogs were not pets, just a business proposition making their owners money.”
With the new regulations, Meacham said, “All dogs in Weldon sleep in a doghouse, not under the stars anymore. They have fresh water and food, and can walk freely inside their chainlink fence space. I urge all of us to take the necessary steps to support PETA in helping us see that all dogs have the freedom to be treated humanely.”
The event also gave guests a chance to see PETA’s community action van, which is stocked with supplies needed when fieldworkers encounter distressed dogs.
Photos showed the many dogs fieldworkers have rescued and the event gave business owners a chance to meet therapy dog Elle and her owner, Leah Brewer. Elle has recently become an honorary chamber member.