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.