Attention dog guardians

I have a dog ~ a slightly overweight, exceptionally needy, very sweet, embarrassingly cowardly, chocolate Lab named Hershey.

Most mornings she joins me on short walks around our block. When she’s out with me, she’s on a leash. Two reasons – one) she is very much like a teenager with selective hearing. She doesn’t mind me AT. ALL. And, two) it’s the law. Our local leash ordinance requires that she be restrained, or under ‘the control of a responsible person and the controlling person’s commands prevent trespass.’

Knowing how she is, Hershey stays on her leash. I have a few neighbors who feel they and their pets don’t have to follow these laws.

The law states that dogs can be unleashed if the owner has ‘voice command controls’ over them. When dogs come running toward Hershey and me, off their property, I think it’s safe to say they aren’t under their owners’ control.

It can be scary. I don’t know these dogs, or their owners. I don’t know if they are trying to be friendly or territorial. To a person, the owners seem to think these encounters are funny.

I ~ with my legs trussed up in Hershey’s leash, fighting a terrified dog who tops out at 86 pounds, yelling at the offending dog and its laughing master ~ am unamused.

My dad suggested I carry a can of pepper spray with me for just such encounters. I don’t necessarily want to harm these other dogs, but simple voice commands from a stranger don’t work either. I do carry a small air horn, one of those loud and obnoxious noise makers sports fans take to games. I haven’t had to use it yet, but hopefully it is persuasive if needed.

All I ask is that other pet owners consider their neighbors. I don’t think your little dog is cute when it’s snarling at me and my dog. I don’t want to chaperone a playmate in the middle of the street with your dog and mine. I don’t know you, but your total disregard for my safety is pissing me off.

Don’t even get me started on how these same pet owners walk through the neighborhood letting their dogs crap in other people’s yards without cleaning it up. Someone once actually left a plastic grocery bag with dog poop in it on my yard.

These same municipal codes require pet owners to clean up after their dogs. It’s gross enough that I have to pick up my own dog’s crap, I certainly don’t want to deal with a strange dog’s crap in my yard.

It’s reasonable, to expect people to be respectful pet owners ~ respectful to their pet, other people’s pets, their neighbors and their neighbors’ property.

*the above sign is posted at a local, pet-friendly park. 

Submitted as part of Shell’s “Pour Your Heart Out” writing prompt at Things I Can’t Say. Please stop by to read the other posts, and give a little comment love.

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

19 thoughts on “Attention dog guardians

  1. I totally agree. It could be the friendliest dog in the world, but if it’s coming towards me, off-leash, I’m a little freaked out at first. Totally unnecessary.


  2. Good post. I’m not yet a dog owner, I hope to be one day soon, however when considering a dog I have to consider everything that goes with having a dog – as with everything in life. The things I’ll need to buy, the rules I’ll need to follow. I can’t stand that people think rules are put there to be broken. I don’t believe voice control works, certainly not all the time – like you said, dogs can be like children with ‘selective hearing’. I hate how people think it’s ok to leave their dogs crap in the streets for people to stand on or in other peoples gardens, how rude(?)!


  3. We should all be considering our neighbors in ways that many are not. I LOVE animals, but not all of them are friendly & I’ve found many who are not also have owners who are not.


  4. It frustrates me when I see dogs off leash as well. No matter how in control you are a dog can still run into traffic and its the owners fault if the poor thing gets hurt. Hear hear sister!


  5. I think the ‘voice command’ clause is a mistake. It just gives irresponsible owners an out. It’s extremely rare for anyone to truly have FULL voice command over an animal.
    Too bad not everyone is as responsible as you!


  6. I love the sign. I definitely understand where you are coming from. I have the same problem but not when I walk my dog, when I go running/walking. Matter-of-fact today I went for my run and a pit bull started my way. I hollered at it to stay and I was surprised it did. However, I didn’t continue in that direction I turned around hollering stay about three more times. At least until I felt safe enough to continue on running. I use to carry pepper spray because the dogs on our private road use to run loose. We finally have all the neighbors keeping their dogs on leashes or within fences. Sometimes it makes me wonder about them.


  7. I concur with you, wholeheartedly! One more question, however: Could ya please come over with airhorn and scare the poop out of my neighbor’s beagle puppy, who hasn’t shut up for the past 6 months?


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