Just the other day I posted about how people need to not let their dogs approach other dogs on leash, even if they ‘think’ their dog is friendly. There is a good reason for that! Not every dog is friendly or wants to meet you. So, what do you do when your neighbor won’t put their dog on a leash at all and it runs at you and your reactive dog on leash?
Yesterday my dog walker, Rachel, came in all shaken up after taking Louise for her morning walk. As you know, Lulu is nervous and leash reactive. There is a lady in my neighborhood who never walks her beautiful white golden retriever on leash. This dog, Carmel, runs all over lawns and poops wherever it wants. I have watched this for years (and it has always ticked me off – but that is for another blog). Usually, if I am walking the dogs and I see this dog (or any dog except one we know) coming, I turn around and go another way.
Rachel was having a nice walk with Louise but then bounding out of someone’s yard from behind some bushes comes Carmel. Straight toward Rachel and Louise.
The owner was several yards away paying no attention to her ‘at-large’ animal. Rachel yelled at the dog to stop and placed herself between Louise and this approaching train.
Whether Carmel is friendly or not does not matter. No animal should be allowed to menace my dog walker, my dog, or me. The owner finally called her dog but not after it was right up on Rachel. If Louise had bitten that dog, it would be Louise they take away. Rachel is a wonderful dog walker (Simplifido is her company) and she takes protection of the dogs in her care very seriously. Seriously enough that she put herself between Louise and the approaching dog to protect Lulu. Rachel yelled at the lady to have her dog on leash and that it was the law, but I don’t think the lady cared. Rachel said she did not hear an apology or anything from the woman.
Now here is my question to you, dog lovers and blog friends:
(1) Should I talk to this lady about the situation? I met her once about 15 years ago (she lives about 20 houses away). I see her in the street with the dog often but always keep my distance, for obvious reasons. Not knowing her personally, this would definitely be an uncomfortable situation. Sadly, I doubt she would care or change her behavior even if I talked to her. (But, I was thinking of doing this.)
(2) Do I file a complaint with animal control? The county doesn’t make filing a complaint easy. I would have to send a notarized affidavit of complaint to the county. They will, upon verification and at their discretion, send a notice to the alleged offending owner. This lady could ignore that notice, since county animal control is never around the neighborhood to see. (Rachel thought this might be a good idea if I took pictures of the dog running loose.)
(3) Do I write a letter to the lady myself? This feels kind of like a cowards way out but it would let me express how unsafe letting her dog run loose is. Though it has not happened to her yet, the chance of her dog getting bit, or worse, might scare her into leashing her dog (NOT!). (My sister thought this was the way to go. Safer for me and still expressing my concerns.)
(4) Do I post an open letter in the Community Newsletter? This would be cathartic for me, but I don’t know if anyone, besides me and the people that write it, reads the email from the neighborhood association.
(5) Do I do nothing? Carmel is old (maybe 14 or so) and will probably die in the next year or so (I know that is a terrible way to think). The problem will ultimately solve itself, so why bother. (My spouse’s non-confrontational method.)
(6) Here is Nine’s answer:
I’ve included a link to an informative article on dealing-with-off-leash-dogs. When I read stuff like this at least I don’t feel like I am the only person going through this. I don’t mind turning around to avoid other dogs, but it is so hard when pet owners are clueless of what that action means and just keep walking toward us. And worst, of course, is when they have a loose dog.
Years ago I was a clueless pet owner too. My first few dogs were docile and easy going. Like most people, I had no reason to think about unfriendly, anxious, or aggressive dogs. I had never heard or experienced reactive dog issues. Education is key. We need to help people understand that in a community setting, dogs need to be leashed and kept at a distance unless otherwise discussed.
What would you do?