[Independent Florida Alligator - comments at full story link]
At a glance
* Protestors chained themselves to trees to advocate rights of tethered animals
* Animal activists staged chain offs for the sixth year nationwide
* Since last year's Chain Off, Alachua County passed an ordinance that limits the time a dog can be tethered to three hours a day
Bernie Campbell does not go looking for mistreated dogs —but she is not about to look the other way.
Campbell didn't intend to buy a small white mutt resembling a Jack Russell terrier at the Chiefland, Fla., flea market four years ago. But she couldn't walk away from the trembling creature pressed against the back of the miniature metal prison.
Instead, she paid the owner $50 and bailed her new pet out of flea market confinement.
On Saturday, Pearl, the once frightened mutt, roamed freely around Northside Park in Gainesville, sniffing the ground, chewing on sticks and dragging a dangling leash behind her.
Park rules say dogs need to be on a leash, said Campbell, who sits Indian-style on a silver mat on the ground.
They don't say anything about owners being on the other end, she laughs, jingling the silver-link chain attached to a black collar around her neck.
Although Pearl wanders unhindered, Campbell sits tethered to a tree. For eight hours on Saturday, Campbell, 49, and two friends chained themselves to trees to raise awareness against tethering animals. This is Campbell's second year participating in the Chain Off, sponsored by Dogs Deserve Better, an organization working to improve treatment of dogs.
From June 27 to July 7, animal advocates staged chain offs for the sixth year nationwide, using Independence Day as a platform for change.
"We're celebrating our independence, now we're fighting for theirs," Campbell said.