Today was a gorgeous day. I took my Dante dog for a nice long walk out in the sun. We ended up walking 5.34 miles. I would have liked to walk longer, but I felt a blister coming on (first blister in a long time) and Dante was acting like his hip was bothering him. At four years old, I guess he’s getting middle-aged, like me. My hip was bothering me too. But then, it always bothers me. It’s just that some times are worse than others. Today wasn’t too bad.
One thing I’ve discovered about nice spring days, is that I’m not the only one who likes to go outside and walk or garden or do any number of other things. People were out in force. Which means, so were their dogs. For the dogs in fenced yards (and there were a lot of them) that isn’t a problem. The problem begins when dogs are outside, without bounds, tether or leash and therefore with no way to control them other than their owners’ commands. And when dogs get excited, sometimes it’s really easy for them to ignore their owner.
I counted no less than 8 dogs that were outside without a leash today. Only one of those dogs obeyed his owner (she used the “leave it” command). Three different owners shoved their total of four dogs inside their houses once they saw us coming. The remaining three dogs were outside, running loose. Two of them had owners on bikes. These dogs charged at my dog and the kids just watched, speechless, without trying to stop them. I had to yell a very firm “NO!” at the dogs, which made the dogs think twice (I find it strange that they were ignoring Dante’s barking at them and didn’t seem to be afraid of him, but my shouting “no” seemed to scare them enough to back off), and then one of the kids called to one of the dogs and he went back toward him. The last dog that was loose had absolutely no owner in sight. He came running at us and barked, but he stopped short of any attack (thank goodness), and I hustled Dante away. If that dog had continued, more than likely he would have been on the losing end of that encounter, since my dog probably outweighed him by 100 pounds. That dog’s owner would be one less dog. And likely, the owner never would have known what happened to the dog, since the dog would have been hurt who knows how far away from home.
I can’t express to you how much it ticks me off that owners let their dogs run around off-leash. It is amazingly stupid, unless you have an extremely well-trained dog. And let’s admit it. How may people really, truly have a dog that is that well trained? Dogs are by nature inquisitive creatures and love to explore their environment. They are also territorial. When an owner lets his dog out without a leash, he is asking for trouble. (I am not referring to dog parks and other places where this is an acceptable practice–owners sometimes take their chances there, but they all know this and are assuming the risks. No, I’m referring to people with their dogs on the street and in other public places.)
Off leash, dogs are:
- uncontrollable, unless extremely well-trained
- more likely to be hit by a car
- more likely to get bitten by or bite another dog
- more likely to get pepper sprayed by a human who perceives the dog as a threat, whether it is or not (and since I’ve personally been menaced by dogs running loose, I tend to look at any loose dog as a potential threat)
- more likely to do damage to other people’s property
- more likely to cause a lawsuit
- more likely to be exposed to diseases from other animals
- more likely to be caught and/or stolen by humans thinking they are helping a poor lost dog (good luck seeing your dog again)
- more likely to be poisoned by eating something that isn’t good for it
I mean, there are so many reasons not to let your dog off a leash. Why on earth would you take those chances? Not to mention, people who let their dogs out unsupervised are the height of irresponsible pet owners. That just sends me through the roof. I understand a pet somehow manages to get out from time to time, but those who actually let their animals wander are opening themselves up to so many problems it really isn’t funny at all. I don’t understand that.
Sorry. I’m still very peeved by today’s experience. Thus the rant. Worrying about loose dogs attacking me or my dog sort of ruined what would have otherwise been a very lovely spring walk on a gorgeous, sunny day!