Sunday, March 28, 2010

Off the leash

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.


Anonymous said...

i agree, dogs should be on leashes for sure. I'm always nervous when I see a dog wandering around, because you never know if it is a stray that might bite you. There is a leash law for dogs for a reason. Cats however I have never come upon a cat I thought might bite me. It is much much harder to keep a cat indoors than a dog. I have tried and tried and my cats somehow get out. My cats are aged 12, 8 and 1...they all go outside. Does it make me nervous? Slightly. They dont cross the street and my youngest kitty doesnt ever stay outside, she darts out, then comes back in. But we HAVE lost a cat to being hit by a car, and so I keep trying to keep them in.

Dawn Colclasure said...

Nancy, I'm so sorry you lost your kitty! That's so sad. :( I once found a cat somebody killed right alongside the curb in front of my house. It was horrible and I'll never forget the look of agony on that cat's face. I called animal control to pick it up but they took FOREVER to do it and I was worried my daughter would come home from school and see that horrible sight. So I asked my neighbor to help me remove it and wrap it up so no one could see it. As to the cat I struck, I took him to the vet but the back was broken and they had to put the cat to sleep. It was awful. I was in tears, the vet was in tears. I kept telling the cat "I'm sorry." It's such a tragedy when our beloved animals are struck by vehicles and taken from their companions that way. My nephew had a dog who was struck and killed by a car and it was gruesome. He cried so hard.

People DO need to be careful with their animals. It is NOT worth their life to let them run free or lead someone on rollerskates into traffic like that guy was letting his dog. An animal being struck by a car is a horrible experience for the driver, animal and owner. So people with dogs really should keep them on a leash in order to avoid such a tragedy.