From a concerned neighbor:
For those of you who know me you know that I am actually a pretty kind and reasonable person. But everyone has their breaking point and I have reached mine.
My dog Annie is a rescue dog who had clearly been in dog fights prior to me getting her. She is scared of other dogs and was aggressive when she thinks they pose a threat – i.e. off leash or lunging. After much training and time we had gotten to the point of her not reacting unless a dog was being aggressive towards her.
July 4th weekend we were walking and out of nowhere a large Rottweiler started to charge Annie. I look for an owner but no one was around. I yelled to “stay”, to no avail. It was going to go down and there was nothing I could do about it. Annie was struggling to get out of her harness and I let her go so she could defend herself. I was screaming at the top of my lungs for help, but we were in a school parking lot and no one was around. I tried kicking the dog, hitting it with the leather leash but nothing helped. For those who have never seen or heard a dog fight let me tell you – there are few things worse to witness.
I managed to get my legs around the other dogs hips. The other dog was hurt and whimpering at this point. Annie is not one to mess with. Annie still had the other dogs ear but she was not actively trying to hurt him – just contain him. I calmly (as calm as I could be) told Annie to let go of the dog – which she did. I then let go of the other dog and he ran away as fast as he could to the woods.
Just about then neighbors pulled up from hearing the screaming. Annie and I were safe, but to say we were rattled would be an understatement. The other dog was clearly pretty hurt, and Annie was bleeding. We got home, immediately went to the vets office.
Annie had 5 puncture wounds but would be alright. She slept all day and by the next day she was ready to go for a walk again. I won’t take her out until I have dog pepper spray (the safe kind).
Why was my dog’s health and life placed at risk? Why did she and I have to go through such a traumatic event? Because a human dog owner was so selfish and irresponsible that they let the dog loose or abandoned the dog.
This has not been a new problem in our neighborhood. Some of our neighborhood dog owners seem to have a sense of entitlement to let their dog room free, regardless of the law or reason for leash laws. Dogs also do not know the legal boundaries of their yard, so letting them run loose in an unfenced yard is still dangerous.
Too many dog owners seem to have the false assumption that there is nothing wrong with allowing their dogs to run off leash, because their dogs are “friendly” and won’t harm anyone. First of all, “so what”. Your belief that your dog is friendly does not make your illegal and dangerous choice to have them off lease acceptable.
For a leashed dog, having an unleashed dog rush unwanted and uninvited into its personal space when it is restricted by the leash is a stressful event. Allowing your dog to be off leash is blatantly selfish, irresponsible and puts others in a stressful and dangerous situation. Your dog’s desire to be off leash is not more important than my child’s, dog, or my health or well being.
The “Oh he’s friendly” claim is not only irrelevant but also a myth. No dog owner can accurately predict 100% of the time how her dog will react when greeting another dog or person.
Off-leash dogs are also dangers to themselves. Few owners have drop-dead verbal control over their dogs, putting them at risk for running into nearby streets and being hit by cars, or getting lost.
“But my dog won’t leave the porch, leave the yard, jump the 3 ft. fence etc.” First of all you don’t know that. Second, I don’t know that. Your dog taking a charge at a short fence scares me – as a full grown adult. Think what it does to kids.
I have a right to walk in my neighborhood and walk my dog in this neighborhood without the constant fear of running into an off leash dog. My neighbors have a right to walk their children without the fear of having a dog come up to them. You do not have the right to let your dog run loose in this neighborhood.
If appealing to your dogs self interest, logic, or sense of decency has not done the trick then I am left with the law. It is illegal to not contain your dog. Please see Seattle code 9.25.084. Let this serve as fair warning. If I see your dog off leash or off of your property, I will report you.
The school, school yard and field, are here for the benefit of the actual school children – not your dog. Children can’t or won’t play in the yard because you are there with your off lease dog. How do I know this? I have seen it and I have turned around plenty of times because I have seen you there with your off leash dog. This is selfish, rude, and very unneighborly. You do not have the right to use the field as your own private dog park.
Being a responsible dog owner is more than just feeding Fido a grain-free diet or buying the latest, trendy toys. It is about making sure he or she is safe as well as everyone else that could possibly come into contact with him.
Your neighbors thank you.