Rebecca Schneider of Mesa can escape the sun on her concrete porch or under the acacia tree in her front yard.
But she isn’t drooling over either option as she will be chained in her front yard for 16 hours this Fourth of July, when most neighbors will be grilling hot dogs and drinking beer.
“It’s going to be god-awful,” Schneider said as she surveyed the area Tuesday afternoon in the 110-degree heat. “But I asked for it.”
Schneider is one of 104 participants nationwide and in Canada who will chain themselves starting Saturday as part of the Chain Off 2007 event by the nonprofit group, Dogs Deserve Better. Organizers hope the demonstration will cause dog owners to think twice before they leave their unaccompanied pets chained outside this summer.
This is the fifth year Pennsylvania-based founder Tammy Grimes has organized the awareness campaign about a practice she calls one of the worst forms of animal abuse.
“We’re absolutely against unaccompanied chaining,” said Grimes, 43. “If you can keep an eye on the dog, it’s OK.”
A freelance graphics designer, Grimes grew up seeing a beagle on their farm chained near a barn. She said it never occurred to her as a child to advocate for the pet.
“I pitied her,” she said. “But in those days, kids didn’t have too much control.”
After seeing a neighbor’s dog chained for six years, she formed Dogs Deserve Better in 2002.
Schneider, who came across the group’s Web site last month, had nearly reported her former neighbor last year to authorities when she saw their dog chained nearly all day, every day.
The librarian at Arizona State University said she plans to take her body temperature every hour and keep track of how much water she’ll consume throughout the 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. exercise.
“Most people don’t realize just how high the body temperature can go up in the heat outside,” she said. “And that’s without any fur on them.”
As she talked, she petted Scruffy, her 2-year-old black Shih Tzu — much to the annoyance of Buddy, her year-old Chihuahua-Dachshund mix, who yelped behind her.
Schneider said many dogs in her Mesa neighborhood are chained for hours, and they can get hot even while sitting in the shade.
“People think a bowl of water is enough for them all day,” Schneider said. “But it simply isn’t.”