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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Off Leash and Stubborn

There is a community website that I am a part of in hopes to stay updated on community happenings as well as voice my concerns.  Recently my main concern is people walking their dogs off leash in the city where other dogs are on leash.  The leashed dogs are following the law.  They can also be dog aggressive, scared or anxious if an off leash dog comes up to them (it is a threat), and generally nervous and could bite out of fear.  I have been posting on this community site to try to get people to stop doing this.  Maybe they aren't aware of the law or the ramifications. Maybe they are just selfish and don't care about anyone else around them.  It seems a have a large number of people on my side, but  no one really knows what to do.  This was my most recent post:

Ok, I know I posted this before, and it seemed as though people were getting it for a while (while the post was relevant), but this morning I have learned otherwise. Local dog walker here, just trying to do my job. I was walking a dog that is not fond of other dogs down queen street this morning and within the first block I see a man walking his german shepherd back to his house (261 Queen, yes I will now call you all out) He seemed as though he was going right back in his house so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and waited on the opposite corner. Then I see him picking up stray trash and messing with his trashcans while the dog turns the corner and starts walking down 3rd street! So I yell over , "Excuse me! Is that you dog?" He said it was, and I said, "She is not good with other dogs, could you please get him so that we can cross the street?" And he got a little huffy and said, "Yeah! I was BRINGING him in the house." He called, the dog came, went in the house. Not the biggest deal, but he still wasn't paying attention and his dog was out of his sight completely.
THEN I walk through Mario Lanza park (regular park, not the dog park part) and we get to the end of the path leading to Christian and a guy with a ridgeback (full or mix?) walks in on the opposite side and lets his dog off leash immediately (not IN the dog park) and his dog comes charging at the dog that I have. I'm pulling her aside and yelling, "Whoa! She's NOT good with other dogs!" He runs over and grabs his dog by the collar and goes over to the dog park. I was saying , "Hey, you can't do that! They can't be off leash here." He just seems annoyed and goes, "Yeah.. Ok." and walks away. So I walk over to the dog park itself and call him over. I explain that I am not trying to be bitchy, but it's really not safe to do that. There are a ton of dog aggressive dogs in this neighborhood, just wait till he is in the park." His reply was priceless. "Yeah, I hear this at least once a day. I GUESS I'll have to start leashing him more." HE HEARS THIS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY AND IS STILL DOING IT!!!!!

I walk dogs. It is my business. It is my responsibility to keep my dog clients safe and out of harms way. I am liable. When people like this have no regard for other neighborhood animals, it enrages me. Walk your dogs on a leash. It is a simple concept. It is a law. It is common sense. Don't intentionally create dangerous situations! I am keeping these postings relevant because EVERYONE that is on my side needs to grow a pair and speak up! It is hard to single -handedly lead a revolution.


Today I got a private reply on the site from Bobby, the dog park guy.  Here is his reply to my post:

Debbie, Go figure, I was the gentleman at the dog park at Mario Lanza who was trying everything possible to ignore you when you tried to create a scene. I get that this is your "job" and it's very clear just how passionate you are about this but had I known you would have taken to public cry then I would have treated our encounter differently. I do not get a request once a day to leash my dog, that remark was simply to send you on your way so I can go about enjoying my day and morning walk with my dog. Why is it that all these run-ins you have end in confrontation? Would that by chance have anything to do with you and your unpleasant reactions? Just something to think about before you get as feisty as the dog you're walking next time. I realized mistake and was very apologetic to start and that's the part you omitted from record in your posting. People might be a little more respectful and responsive if you didn't carry such an (as you put it "bitchy") attitude. Understand that other owners work very hard the same way you do to train their dogs to be obedient and that includes practicing off-leash commands. That's all that is, please don't make these owners feel like they are incompetent/irresponsible because of the occasional free running mistakes before taking their environment into account. If you want to make a statement, do it in cordial fashion so that you can receive the same results in return. That's my two cents for whatever you feel it's worth. I won't be reading your reply whether it be private or another ill-informed public comment so don't waste much time in writing it. Take care, Bobby


What a (insert your own expletive here)! I did reply to him (and you know he read it) and this is what it said:
Yeah, I figured that was you. I repeated what YOU told me. Yes I take my business and responsibilities seriously. You are taking your dog to the dog park, yet you let your dog off leash when the actual dog park was still about 50 ft away. And your dog charged at the dog that I had in my hand. You want to wait until something awful happens? Go right ahead. I was trying to be human and call you over to chat behind the fence so you'd know where I was coming from. But you don't care, so that's fine. That was me not being bitchy. That was me trying to talk to your like a person and tell you why I was pissed. I truly hope that you and your dog stay safe. Make good decisions please.
Bottom line is, you are breaking the law. I am not. There is a leash law in this city. You had a confrontation before I even met you regarding the same thing. Common denominator was YOU. Although you want to practice training - it is unsafe and inconsiderate to do it in a setting such as Mario Lanza where there are other dogs and people all over the place. I wasn't trying to "ruin your day" and you did not apologize. You tried to placate me rudely and walked away. I don't want to see your dog attacked by a dog that he startles or hit by a car - just as much as I don't want to see one of my clients attacked. And don't use quotes around "job" . This is my job and my legit business. I have worked in the animal industry since 1996. I know what I am talking about and my concern is for the safety of the dogs. I don't care what you think or what you do with your time. Enjoy the dog park, just wait until you are in the gate to take the leash off. THat's all. Your dog is adorable and I would have said hello to him if I didn't think that the dog that I had would try to bite his face off. It's a small community, just be respectful. Rules apply to everyone - you are not exempt.

Philadelphia Dog Leash Law Section § 10-104 of the Philadelphia Code provides as follows: Animals Running at Large and Vicious Animals (1) No person shall permit any animal other than a sterilized cat to go at large upon any street, public place or private property other than the property of the owner of the animal. All animals, other than sterilized cats, using any street, public place or private property of anyone other than the owner of the animal shall be on a leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length including the handgrip but excluding the collar and accompanied by a person able to fully control the animal at all times.


I have yet to hear a reply, nor do I think I will - however I am livid. What has to happen to make these people see that this is not a good idea? An attack? A hit by car situation? We are in a small community with MANY dogs. There are only so many places to go and ways to avoid those not abiding the law. I try to talk, I try to ask nicely, but people treat me as I am asking them to perform heart surgery on the street. They ignore me, they placate me, they turn and walk away...
So do I have to carry around a copy of the leash law in my pocket and hand it out? I might just do that.
Do I have to talk to every police officer in the neighborhood about why they should enforce this law? I have already started. I need back up - I need actual support, more then anonymous people agreeing with me in a forum. This could turn into a really awful situation where dog fights happen, kids get knocked over, people get bitten.... this needs to stop. Dog parks exist for a reason - please use them.