Today, when I drove to the grocery store, something caught my eye. A dog kept jumping up on its owner (or friend??). The woman grabbed hold of the dog by the neck, held him down and reprimanded the dog while holding a finger up right in front of him. (I don't know if the dog is male or female so I'm just going to assume it was a he.)
If that was not enough to shock me, something else happened. I watched as the woman unhooked the leash from the dog's collar and let the dog run loose.
Mind you, this was in a parking lot of the grocery store.
I watched the dog take off across the parking lot, grateful there were no cars there to hit it but still irritated that this woman let loose the dog in a place where the dog could get hurt if not on a leash. What if a car had been there? What if that dog had jumped up on a child and ended up hurting the child??
This reminded me of the time I was driving on West 7th and I had to slam on the brakes when a dog came barreling across the road. The dog's owner (I presume) was wearing skates and allowing the dog to just lead him right into the middle of oncoming traffic on a busy street. I know I never would have forgiven myself if I had accidentally struck the dog. I have already hit one animal by accident (and, unfortunately, the poor kitty I rushed to the vet had to be put to sleep because her back broke in the accident). I did NOT want to be responsible for striking another animal with my car.
And I have to wonder here: Who is at fault? Is it the owner being so irresponsible? Or is it the driver, not watching out for the unexpected?
Despite whose fault it might be, the fact remains that these two people were NOT being very responsible with the animals they were in charge of. That woman should not have let the dog off the leash to run wild. Besides, I think there is some law against having an unleashed animal in public. And that man should not have allowed his dog to run into a busy street. These kinds of things could result in a tragedy for the animal, the owner and the driver with the misfortune of striking the animal by accident then living with the grief of having accidentally taken an animal's life.
If you take your dog out and about, be responsible. Put your dogs on a leash and keep them on a leash. Don't let your dog go charging through traffic; maintain control.
There's nothing wrong with taking your dog -- or cat, hamster, whatever -- out and about in your area. What is wrong is not caring for them or being responsible with them.