“Just A Walking The Dog’ And If You Don’t Know How To Do It, I’ll Show You How To Walk The Dog!”
The title is taken from a 1960’s song performed by Rufus Thomas
Hi! we’re the family with the two small friendly inside dogs who seldom get to walk. I want to take a moment and ask you to walk your dog with a leash, and to ask you to please take your dog to another area away from my house, so I don’t have to clean up after it.
And yes, I get it. Your dog is amazing and well-trained. You’ve been through extensive training and your dog knows a slew of verbal commands. Your dog is a service animal and visits children’s cancer wards and retirement communities and is the best-behaved dog you’ve ever had. I get that.
The truth is, I don’t care about your dog. When I’m walking Riley leashed and you’re walking your dog unleashed, my concern is for my dog, not yours.
While I understand you’re 100% convinced that your dog won’t do anything spontaneous. The truth is that your dog is an animal and any claim that you’re 100% certain your dog won’t do anything is incorrect. It may not, but you can’t be certain. It’s simple; dogs are animals and react instinctively.
Yes, I’m personally invested because Riley wasn’t socialized prior to arriving with me. So, he’s not good with other dogs, he loves people, tolerates children but doesn’t like other dogs and cats, he hates cats. You’ve probably noticed we cross the street when we notice another dog.
While I’ve trained Riley to ignore other dogs, if your dog starts barking, he’ll respond. If you’re dog isn’t leashed and decides to act instinctively and runs towards us, Riley will react. My fear is that would be bad.
Despite my efforts to avoid your unleashed dog and the fact that your dog ran towards my dog, rest assured we will defend ourself, and you will be considered at fault.
You’re putting MY dog in jeopardy because YOUR dog is unleashed. That’s uncool.
Yes, I’m aware there are laws on the books regarding unleased dogs. And yeah, I’m aware of the penalties and current legislation. I’m also aware they are not strickly enforced. That’s why I am a responsible canine citizen and I’m a responsible canine owner and use a leash. I’m unwilling to put my dog, or yours, in a position where he may feel threatened and call upon his instincts
I used to have a dog that I walked without a leash. When confronted, I defended my dog like you do, saying “He won’t do anything” “He’s friendly” and my personal favorite “Relax” (when has anything good ever come from someone saying “Relax” in a heated situation?). When I think back now, I’m ashamed of my behavior. I was wrong.
Please take this letter under consideration. The advantages to keeping your dog on a leash far outweigh the potential consequences of not. It’s also considerate to others. If you’re still unconvinced, it’s safe to say you should study up on your community ordinance and state leash laws, it would be to your benefit to read it and understand it.
I decided to write this article after learning of a recent attack by two Pit Bulls on a 24 year old women in Moundsville who received severe injuries and was lucky a neighbor intervined to help her. Here are some portions of the law in West Virginia:
19-20-5. Wearing of registration tag by dog.
Every registered dog shall at all times wear a valid registration tag issued as provided in this article. The failure to have displayed or worn on any dog, at any time, of such valid tag shall be prima facie evidence that such dog is not registered and such dog shall be subject to be, and shall be, impounded, sold, or destroyed as hereinbefore or hereinafter provided.
19-20-13. Dog running at large; liability of owner.
Any owner or keeper of any dog who permits such dog to run at large shall be liable for any damages inflicted upon the person or property of another by such dog while so running at large.
19-20-19. Offenses; criminal penalties; jurisdiction.
A person who violates any of the provisions of this article for which no specific penalty is prescribed is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than thirty days, or both fined and imprisoned. Magistrates shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts to enforce the penalties prescribed by this article.
19-20-20. Keeping vicious dogs; humane officers may kill such dogs.
Except as provided in section twenty-one of this article, no person shall own, keep or harbor any dog known by him to be vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons, whether or not such dog wears a tag or muzzle. Upon satisfactory proof before a circuit court or magistrate that such dog is vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons or other dogs or animals, the judge may authorize the humane officer to cause such dog to be killed.
Thanks for reading, See you on the sidewalk.