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Old 08-16-2011, 07:39 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,974,525 times
Reputation: 3858

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Folks, I could use some advice--particularly from those who have worked or do work in law enforcment (BigFoot and Car54) or municipal government. Thanks in advance.

I live in Arlington County, which has a leash law. Twice a day, I walk our dog, always on a leash. I routinely see people walking their dogs off-leash in the park and on the bike/walking paths. Often, the owner will have a leash draped over their shoulder, but the dog will be unconnected. I think they do it out of a misguided sense that the dog enjoys the walk more.

This bothers me for several reasons: 1. It violates the law. 2. I don't know how their dog will behave toward my dog (who is not aggressive, btw). 3. My biggest reason: Someone who has their dog off leash may not notice if the dog gets ahead of or behind them and defecates. I see uncollected dog feces all the time along the bike paths, which I find infuriating.

I almost always confront the person--in a polite-but-annoyed way. (E.g., "You know, he should really be on leash" or "Come on, man--where's the leash?") I explain that I shouldn't have to worry if their dog is friendly or not and note that the law requires a leash.

Invariably, I get a defensive response. Once I saw a fellow young-middle-aged guy who was running; his dog was accompanying him, but barely; the dog was about 50 feet behind him, running all over the park to sniff, and would then catch up with him. When I saw him on his return, we got into a debate about the whole matter, his contention being that if I ever exceed the speed limit, I have no business reprimanding him for letting his dog off leash.

The County will not enforce the law, for several reasons. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is supposed to enforce it, but they don't, in part because they don't patrol at all--they barely even do animal control--and also because they rely on donations from the dog-loving public, so they have a vested interest in not getting involved. And because AWLA is supposed to enforce it, the police won't. (And they don't do foot patrols anyway.)

I'm conflicted; on one hand, I think I have a right to confront these idiots. And I believe that if they're confronted by enough people like me, they'll eventually decide it's less stress to just keep the dog on the leash. On the other hand, my gut tells me that if I keep this up, eventually some guy will turn it into a physical altercation--which would be bad for a number of reasons. (I can hold my own, but there's always someone tougher than you. And I don't want an assault charge, as I work for the government. And both dogs would probably freak out.)

I'm not sure why they don't put the dogs on leashes; there are dog parks not that far away, and most people nearby have backyards.

What can be done about this? Arlington County is not going to be helpful; they don't care. Our board is elected at large, so none of its members are accountable.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 08-16-2011 at 08:08 AM..

 
Old 08-16-2011, 07:58 AM
 
5,121 posts, read 5,560,677 times
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I am curious about answers as this is a pet peeve of mine too... I walk my dogs on leashes. My dogs are friendly, but they are also old, with bad arthritis and probably a little grouchy because of the pain. When other dogs walk up to them, they are okay and happy to meet another dog, but when a young pup (off leash) comes charging up to them they immediately get defensive and then *I* am the bad guy because my dogs fur stands up and they give a warning growl. I once also had a dog charge up to me when I was without my dogs and pushing a stroller... Not knowing the dog's intent and not liking it's body language, I got between the dog and my child and yelled at it at the top of my voice (it backed off).

Sometimes I lie to the owner and say, "Wow, you are brave. Animal control was just out here ticketing leash and license violations... they even came up and checked the license on my two! I'd be afraid to walk my dog off leash." It's a non-confrontational way of reminding them there is a law and consequences (but I don't think it works most times). And I have seen animal control patrol before (and they've checked my dogs' licenses too... but that's in Fairfax County).
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:01 AM
 
1,287 posts, read 1,736,262 times
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What people don't realize is they think they know their dog and how it will react in every situation. The biggest problem with this is if everyone felt their dog would never, ever get into an altercation, chase a dog into traffic.... well, it would be a perfect world and all our dogs could be off leash. Having your dog on a leash protects your dog and at a minimum you have some control. It annoys me to no end b/c I feel those owners pose a risk to my dogs and their own.
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:05 AM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,138,982 times
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Well, I won't be of any help to you but this is one of my "pet" peeves.

I own a dog that is somewhat aggressive. Actually, she has a real hatred for other dogs. I know this and she is never, never, never off leash and if I see another dog coming, I cross the street.

It never fails that when I take a stroll around my neighborhood, someone ALWAYS has their dog(s) off leash and the dogs always run up to mine. I have had to yell/shout warnings to PLEASE come remove your dog because I cannot stop a dog fight and MY dog is on a leash.

The worst time was when two little dogs raced out into the street and where nipping and walking through my dogs legs. Fortunately she didn't lunge but I could see her at the ready. I pulled the leash so hard against me/my leg that I got a horrible bruise and I was screaming at this woman to get her little "Puffins" or whatever she was calling them. I'm sure she thought I was a loon.

Now some will say that the burden is on me because my dog hates other dogs, but I control my dog on a leash and if others would do the same, there would be no problem.

Stepping off my soapbox now...
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:11 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,974,525 times
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Thanks for the replies! Glad to know it's not just me.

Jillabean--great idea. Not sure if it would work in Arl, as an actual animal-control patrol is about as likely as a run-in with the grammar police.

It's amazing these people aren't more worried that their dogs could get hit by cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
Now some will say that the burden is on me because my dog hates other dogs, but I control my dog on a leash and if others would do the same, there would be no problem.
That is absolutely insane. It's like saying if on the highway I swing into your lane and dent your car, it's your fault for not having a car made out of stronger material.

Christine, what would happen if you were to carry a SuperSoaker and blast the other person's dog(s) when they run up to yours? If they complain, you could explain that a wet dog is better than a bitten dog.
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:15 AM
 
700 posts, read 1,673,350 times
Reputation: 1066
Red face it's not us dog-lovers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
The County will not enforce the law, for several reasons. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is supposed to enforce it, but they don't, in part because they don't patrol at all--they barely even do animal control--and also because they rely on donations from the dog-loving public, so they have a vested interest in not getting involved. And because AWLA is supposed to enforce it, the police won't. (And they don't do foot patrols anyway.)

I'm conflicted; on one hand, I think I have a right to confront these idiots. And I believe that if they're confronted by enough people like me, they'll eventually decide it's less stress to just keep the dog on the leash. On the other hand, my gut tells me that if I keep this up, eventually some guy will turn it into a physical altercation--which would be bad for a number of reasons. (I can hold my own, but there's always someone tougher than you. And I don't want an assault charge, as I work for the government. And both dogs would probably freak out.)


Thanks for any thoughts.
Don't blame the dog-loving public; those that love their dogs do not let them run off leash. We know risk is too great - to the dogs mostly and as a dog lover that is my personal concern - plus there is the risk of everyone else if my dog is running at large. My dog has never seen someone in a clown suit - he'd likely run up and snap or bite. He also doesn't comprehend bicycles because the little neighborhood demons used to run up on us walking (ON leash) and swerve their bikes at him at the last second. That's another risk I won't take.

You can attempt to explain it this way: a dog's perception of on and off leash is that if a leashed dog is approached by an off-leash dog, the leashed dog immediately feels threatened. There is a power shift in the initial meeting - the loose dog is free to jump on the leashed dog and the leashed dog is beholden to the leash. That's like walking into a rough saloon with your arms tied behind your back. You walk in with a chip on your shoulder and there is a good chance the situation will only rocket downhill from there.

You have to understand though that most morons are a thick breed and they won't be taught. You may reach a few people like this - by educating them - the ones you can't reach, you'll just have to jerk the police into action. Or the patrolling party. Enough angry calls and they'll get the message and start doing what they're supposed to do. You may want to check that group's charter and if it states they are to be patrolling the off leash problem maybe they want to *ADHERE TO THEIR CHARTER.* Good luck!
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:16 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 12,914,706 times
Reputation: 3429
I recommend bear spray,,,hey it works.
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:20 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,974,525 times
Reputation: 3858
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3DogNight View Post
You can attempt to explain it this way: a dog's perception of on and off leash is that if a leashed dog is approached by an off-leash dog, the leashed dog immediately feels threatened. There is a power shift in the initial meeting - the loose dog is free to jump on the leashed dog and the leashed dog is beholden to the leash. That's like walking into a rough saloon with your arms tied behind your back. You walk in with a chip on your shoulder and there is a good chance the situation will only rocket downhill from there.
Thanks; this is a good idea and a reasonable argument. (I've kind of alluded to it before in confrontations.)

BTW, I AM the dog-loving public. We love our dog. And I don't want anything bad to happen to anyone's dog. I do blame AWLA, though, for not doing part of its job, out of (presumably) fear that the few people who will be offended will badmouth them or not donate money.
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:23 AM
 
700 posts, read 1,673,350 times
Reputation: 1066
You may want to remind AWLA that the jackoffs who scream the loudest about the abuses they suffer under...LAWS...likely are NOT their regularly donating public! Smack 'em upside the head with a few facts!
 
Old 08-16-2011, 08:24 AM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,138,982 times
Reputation: 6500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Christine, what would happen if you were to carry a SuperSoaker and blast the other person's dog(s) when they run up to yours? If they complain, you could explain that a wet dog is better than a bitten dog.
Well, that's a darned good idea...
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