Letter: Off-leash etiquette tips
I am very blessed to live a few blocks from Stahley Park, which welcomes dogs off leash in designated areas. Hence, my pup and I frequent there a few times a week so he can run freely and we both can enjoy nature. Ham is very well-known and loved by many people in town, as well as his canine friends.
He has never hurt anyone and has proven his temperament with animals of all sizes and children of all ages. He stays close and always listens if I call him when we are hiking. He has never been in an altercation until today.
An elderly woman with two large dogs also was walking hers off leash, and one of them viciously attacked Ham for no apparent reason. He has a laceration by his eye and a hole in his ear. While I feel very lucky that his injuries are minor, I am extremely disappointed and baffled. My frustration led me to want to share some suggestions of conduct that I hope might help to prevent situations like this for other dog owners.
First, if your dog has ever attacked another dog, please keep it on leash in areas where other dogs may be present. Second, if you are not able to control your dog using commands, please keep it on leash at all times. Third, if your dog’s strength is that of which can easily overpower you and the above criteria also are true, please have someone else with adequate strength walk it on leash for you.
To the woman whose dog caused mine injury today, I would very much appreciate your adherence to the above guidelines from now on. My dog showed no aggression, even while being mauled, and you expressed no surprise at your dog’s behavior. These facts lead me to believe that this was not an isolated incident.
Additionally, I should not have had to wrap my body around Ham as a shield against your dog. If your dog is the initiating party, it seems right that you restrain it. Ham must visit the vet tomorrow. You are welcome to contact me to help with expenses if you like, but all I really ask is for you to please leash your dog in public from now on.
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