St. Peters Church. Society Hill. They welcome fussy babies. They welcome the LGBTQ community. They have a lovely staff and lovely grounds that they open to the public. They also have rules that no one follows, particularly the one that states that dogs must be on leash when on their grounds.
Maybe it's me. Maybe I have become the definition of insanity. I keep going back to this churchyard and ancient cemetery thinking that people are good and have common sense and actually abide by the rules. They don't. I keep trying, but they keep treating it as a dog park. Are they to blame for breaking the law and the church rules? Am I to blame for repeating a behavior and expecting a different outcome?
Two weeks ago I was walking my weekend dog through the cemetery who does not react well to certain dogs, but especially dogs off leash while she is leashed. We walked halfway though and notice that there is a black dog off leash. We stopped to regroup, the owner is calling to her dog to come, the dog is not listening. My husband called over to the owner and yelled, "She's not good with other dogs!" She called her dog again, but dog was fixated on the dog that we had and charged toward us. The dog that we had on leash was visibly startled, barking, growling and this dog just kept on coming. The owner kept calling to her dog over and over but her dog (that was good enough to be off leash) was not paying a bit of attention to her. She is also not running over nearly fast enough to grab her dog that was then snapping at the dog that I had. It was a chaotic mess and i was just trying to lift our dog in the air to buy time. In the midst of trying to protect my client dog, the other dog bites my hand. No skin was broken, no bleeding occurred, but at that point the owner of the other dog finally made it over to us and just kept saying, " I'm sorry." The sad thing is that this entire situation could have been avoided if her dog was ON A LEASH!!!
Today I was walking through the same cemetery and there were 2 large dogs running around off leash while church services were in progress. Then a 3rd big dog came up on leash and those owners decided to let THEIR dog off leash too! I yelled over to them that their dogs needed to be on leash, it was the rule. The man looked at me and waived the leash at me and looked away. They kept going about their business. The dog that was with me was agitated and then I had to drag her away from this situation that shouldn't be happening in the first place. This is not a dog park and people continually treat it as such. Who's responsibility is it to enforce the rules? The church? The police? The community? I left a message for the church to explain the situation and I am hoping that they will do more to enforce that dogs remain on leash (given that it is a city ordinance).
I must sound like a broken record, but if no one says anything then nothing will change. If I just turn around and walk way, the entitled people will still act like they can do whatever they want. Is that ok? What would you do? My first priority is the safety of my animal clients. If I have to keep them safe by getting a bite, then so be it. I also should not have to avoid certain areas because of irresponsible rule breakers.