Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Unleashed Report

Even as our household observed a formal week of mourning for Portia, a beautiful Greyhound who died needlessly because:

1.A neighbor carelessly let his dog out of the yard while rolling a trash can to the curb in front of his house.

2. Our Leash Law Authority had imposed NO penalty WHATSOEVER on the SAME DOG, SAME NEIGHBOR less than three years earlier when the SAME DOG ravaged our great Greyhound, Zephyr,

purposely unleashed dogs continue to be potential threats to themselves and others here in our little suburban city.

These dogs are frequently under the "care" of humans who declare, "My dog ALWAYS obeys me!"

I pause here, dear reader, to let you ponder the IDIOCY of such a declaration.

In another case, major injury was sustained by a dog whose adult owners stated that their children had been left to care for said dog--and its companion. We're talking HUSKIES, not Toy Poodles or Shih Tzus. But then, I also have neighbors who think that children can adequately supervise a MASTIFF.

The first instance of unleashed dogs involved two Huskies. Friends of Friends of Portia might recall a Husky puppy who cried pitifully on Thanksgiving Eve and shortly thereafter through an afternoon and early evening. My repeated calls to Escondido Humane Society resulted in an officer being sent to the Husky's home to counsel the family on the responsibilities of dog ownership.

Evidently, the family's solution to the problem was to purchase a second Husky to keep the first one company. That solution worked--as far as the crying Husky was concerned.

However. Confining TWO young Huskies in a back yard for long periods of time is not the job for children.

Two Friends Of This Blog and true dog lovers were on their way one evening to pick up another friend from the airport. They had had just turned onto the main road out of our sub-division when they witnessed two Huskies running across the four lane, divided road, right into the path of an oncoming car. The Husky who had cried all Thanksgiving Eve was hit, resulting in multiple injuries, including a broken pelvis. My friends facilitated rescuing the dog and getting him to emergency veterinary care.

The good news is that the dog will survive. The hope is that this episode will motivate his owners to take a serious look at their responsibilities as dog owners. Meanwhile, there is one traumatized car driver who did all she could to stop in time. But laws of physics are laws of physics.

Same Friends of Portia. Same major thoroughfare. A Sunday morning and my friends were walking their three Miniature Dachshunds on a pedestrian path that runs parallel to four lanes of traffic.

Who should appear, but Marilyn's and my old acquaintance from Tuesday morning walks in the park. On this occasion, he was accompanied by his wife/lady friend and his Herding Dog--off leash! Is there some macho issue about walking your dog on-leash in the presence of your love interest?

My friends scooped up their little dogs and reminded the man that he was in violation of San Marcos Leash Laws. He insisted that all the law requires is that the dog be "properly restrained", and his was, because (you guessed it)"My dog always obeys me."

Too bad my friends had not witnessed this man chasing madly after the dog "who always obeys him" the day that the dog was chasing Mallards in the park.

Fast forward to the next Tuesday morning. Same man. Same dog. Marilyn and I were finishing our walk, but looked across the park to see The Man Whose Dog Always Obeys Him, chasing after his dog--who had seen a rabbit.

We laughed. But if timing had been different, things might have been very, very bad indeed. Five Greyhounds on leash, one Herding Dog off leash plus one rabbit is a recipe for disaster.

Two days later, I went to pick up my car after a lube and oil change. As I was driving out of the parking lot, a handsome Pit Bull walked out in front of my car from behind a dumpster container. I needed to get home and start dinner, but I have resolved never to ignore a loose dog. So I began to make inquiries.

A young man at a nearby business told me, yes, the dog in question was their "Shop Dog."

I informed him that letting the dog run loose was breaking the law and suggested that the "Shop Dog" needed to stay in the shop.

The young man shrugged off my suggestion. But he was sufficiently concerned to inform the dog's owner, who emerged from the shop as I was returning to my car.

"Is there a problem?" he asked me.

"Yes," I replied. "You are breaking the law by letting your dog run loose. He's a fine, handsome dog, but he needs to be leashed or confined. If I see him loose again, I'll report you."

"He's not hurting anything, and besides, (by this time, I knew what he would say next) "My Dog Always Obeys Me."

He attempted to demonstrate this assertion by calling the dog, who trotted away in the opposite direction.

"That does it," I said. "I'll report you as soon as I get home."

And, dear reader, that is what I did. I waited patiently through the mind numbing decision tree of my Local Leash-Law Authority. Heard no option that fit what I needed. Finally chose what seemed to be the likeliest number and--miracle of miracles--a Live Human Voice answered.

After questioning me closely to ascertain that The Authority would not be wasting its time by intervening, the person at the other end of the line determined that Action Was Needed. She is sending the Pit Bull's owner a letter! I will also be receiving a letter informing me of their action. Soon I will be able to paper the walls of my study with letters I receive in response to my calls to The Authority.

Yesterday, Marilyn and I walked our dogs in the park. We saw the man with the Herding Dog on the other side of the park. They were too far for me to see clearly. The dog might have been loose or might have been leashed on a long, retractable leash, which is over the legal length in San Marcos. But The Authority has informed me that they are unable to enforce that part of the law.

Then, as we were putting our dogs in our cars in preparation for departure, another man appeared with a large mixed breed dog on the end of a long retractable leash. As I was driving away, I saw the man remove the leash and begin what appeared to be obedience lessons with the dog.

Marilyn and I had seen two rabbits in the park, not far from where the man was training his dog off-leash.

Call me uncharitable, but I left without warning the man. One unleashed dog and two rabbits just might provide him with a valuable lesson that His Dog Does NOT Always Obey Him.

I live in hope.

1 comment:

  1. We have a sign upon entering our grooming and self serve pet wash business, “All dogs must be leashed, carried or in a carrier and under control at all times.” Those are simple and to the point instructions, right? No!

    At least once a week someone trots in with their dog off leash. When I still worked at the business, a young fellow walked in (shirtless showing off his muscles) with his Aussie off lead. Sorry, your dog has to be on a leash. We keep a supply of kennel leads for just such folks. Yep, he said it. My dog always minds me. He was very proud to tell me his dog had never been on a leash! We exchanged a few more words and he walked out mumbling expletives and what I could do to myself. I can only imagine how he’ll raise children someday!

    If irresponsible pet owners were hit in the pocketbook every time they violated the leash laws, they might come to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to buy and use a leash!