Unchain NM

MY WORLD Chained dog

It seems as though one of the most commonly asked questions we get at NMDOG are: “I don’t understand why these people have these dogs,” “Why is it legal to keep these dogs like this?” “How come chaining is not legal in Albuquerque but it is here in Valencia County?” “Why can’t you just take the dog?” I will do my best to answer them here.

We do not understand either why people insist on subjecting their dogs to the “lives” they are forced to live, nor do we understand why those in a position to protect them do not do so. We have no power of enforcement, so it is up to the local agencies to enforce what laws are on their books, as well as state statutes. Currently, the City of Albuquerque, the County of Bernalillo, the City of Rio Rancho, the City of Las Vegas, and the City of Hobbs are the only jurisdictions in New Mexico with anti-tethering ordinances on the books. If someone is not willing to surrender their dog to us, and local law enforcement will not enforce their laws….we cannot just take the dog. We do what we can….we keep an eye on many of the situations brought to our attention, and our outreach never ends on that particular day. We work for weeks, months, sometimes even years on dogs we meet during outreach.

Bernalillo County Ordinance

On November 27th, 2012, Bernalillo’s Board of Commission voted to adopt certain changes to the county’s animal care ordinance. One of changes made is that, starting on August 26, 2013, Bernalillo County became a ZERO TOLERANCE zone for chaining or tethering a dog!

NMDOG was awarded a generous grant from the Lowell Fund of the Humane Society of the United States to assist us in our “UNCHAIN BernCo” support program which helped us provide assistance to dog guardians wishing to comply with the zero tolerance anti-chaining ordinance by building fences for approved applicants. The slideshow below shows how this money was put to great use!


The victory for Bernalillo County’s forgotten dogs was brought about by a core group of very dedicated animal welfare advocates in the Albuquerque area who worked for years to make chaining the punishable form of cruelty that it is and to strengthen the language of the laws. They formed relationships with their City Council members and County Commissioners, city attorneys, judges, their mayors, animal control officers, shelters, rescue groups, etc. It is not something that happens overnight. But, with dedicated, on-going efforts from caring citizens it can (and does) happen!

Effecting Change

In response to the passing of this new Anti-Tethering ordinance for Bernalillo County, I have had many folks ask….”what about Sandoval County?”…”what about Valencia County”…”What about my county?”  Well… “Get involved & make a difference!!”  It is up to the citizens of every community to bring this subject to the attention of those in charge of making and upholding the laws! Contact your elected officials, schedule face time with them and ask them to carry an ordinance that will create a safer community for the animals and humans alike. Every community has a group of like minded, passionate animal advocates! Find yours and get the ball rolling!

NMDOG is always available to make a presentation on anti-tethering if we are invited to do so by those working in the communities for legislative change. However, NMDOG is not a legislative entity and we can only serve as support to those doing the real legislative work. We are called upon by communities working towards the goal of anti-tethering and we speak at meetings to provide case studies, statistical support, and plea the case for the dogs, but we cannot lobby!!. NMDOG will be there to support you along the way.

NMDOG Villagers have set up Facebook pages “Unchain Santa Fe” and “Chain-Free Las Cruces/Doña Ana County” (see below) to coordinate anti-tethering efforts in those parts of the state. Let’s get more of these going!  Let us know if you’ve started a Facebook page or similar effort, and we’ll help you promote it.


Animal Protection of New Mexico , is a great resource. They list all current city and county ordinances dealing with animal welfare. They also have information about effecting change through the legislative process.

Unchain Sandoval County blog, is a brand new blog designed to enact anti-tethering laws in Sandoval County similar to those in effect in Bernalillo County. They are also on Facebook.

Unchain Santa Fe” on Facebook was set up by an NMDOG Villager who lives in Santa Fe. If you are in Santa Fe, this is the place to meet like-minded folks that are willing to work together to UNCHAIN their town!

“Chain-Free Las Cruces/Doña Ana County” on Facebook is a brand-new initiative from our southern end of the state, also created by an NMDOG Villager. Lost to do here, too, folks!!!

San Miguel County, NM Anti-tethering Ordinance — effected in part due to efforts of NMDOG Villagers!