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Legally off lead

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I might be playing the devil's advocate here but so be it...

 

I believe strict leash laws exist in the US because irresponsible owners with out of control dogs are far more common then we'd like to admit. I could write a novel about all of the "rude" and irritating behaviors owners allow of their off leash dogs (of which they have no voice control whatsoever) but let me stick to the more serious stuff.

 

Since becoming a dog owner 18 months ago I have personally witnessed out of control, off leash dogs being allowed to charge up to other dogs on leash, harass strangers (sometimes with kids and/or strollers) jump on and chase runners, chase bikers and even bully horseback riders. Regarding the latter I was told several riders have actually been thrown because of loose dogs, although I did not witness this myself. These situations are downright dangerous and, almost without exception, the owners have been completely unapologetic and clueless.

 

To be fair, I've also encountered off leash dogs whose manners were impeccable; whose owners had a rock solid recall on the dog AND the common decency to call their dog back to them when it was appropriate. Almost everyone on this post has mentioned that well behaved dogs should be allowed a bit of extra freedom and I agree 100%. If I meet a dog off leash who is well behaved and under control I could care less what the local leash laws are. The problem is that for every one of these wonderful, well behaved dogs I meet, I encounter ten out of control dogs who really do need to be on a leash.

 

I may not like strict leash laws but I do understand the need for them, especially in shared public places. I think the balance to this is having plenty of designated off leash areas where dogs can go be dogs and not have to be eternally tethered to their owner on a 6ft leash. The way I see it (and based on some posts to this topic) a responsible owner with an off leash dog that is under control is not going to be the one who receives a ticket or fine... the law was never written for them in the first place.

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The way I see it (and based on some posts to this topic) a responsible owner with an off leash dog that is under control is not going to be the one who receives a ticket or fine... the law was never written for them in the first place.

It depends on where you are, I would think. At the beach I've mentioned, the ranger made it clear they would fine me if I didn't keep my dog leashed. This was when Quinn and I were in a remote section, with no one around us and he was under my control, clearly only interested in me throwing his toy into the water. I am apparently so lacking in imagination that it honestly never occurred to me to walk my dog without a leash in my neighborhood or through one of the little downtowns in my area. Even as a kid or young adult when I let my dogs run free in a number of situations regardless of rules, I just figured you kept your dog leashed where there was a good amount of commotion.

 

I agree that all the clueless, rude owners are the reason for dog restrictions and anti-dog sentiment. Putting aside the problem of untrained, aggressive or menacing dogs, there is the annoying, disgusting issue of people not cleaning up after their dogs, which is behind many "no dogs allowed" rules. After apartment living and just walking my dogs, it is clear that some owners are inconsiderate pigs. I recently read an article about some apartments and home owner associations requiring dog owners to have their dogs DNA tested so any piles left behind can be tested and the owners fined, or if the problem continues, be evicted. And some offenders are actually ticked off when they get caught. Yes, some owners are such selfish sacks of hair that even though they are told (and sometimes sign agreements) that their neighbors and landlords want them to clean up their dogs feces, they refuse to do so and are hacked off when confronted or fined.

 

Those are the types of owners that ruin it for the rest of us.

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I might be playing the devil's advocate here but so be it...

 

I believe strict leash laws exist in the US because irresponsible owners with out of control dogs are far more common then we'd like to admit. I could write a novel about all of the "rude" and irritating behaviors owners allow of their off leash dogs (of which they have no voice control whatsoever) but let me stick to the more serious stuff.

 

 

As a regular law breaker there are huge parts of this post I agree with, but I do wonder if what we are dealing is a chicken and egg situation of what came first. Mum24dog has been talking about dogs in England, those dogs I see walking in front of my mothers house are under control and generally polite, we have discussed on these boards that in most of Europe dogs can travel on buses and trains, go to restaurants and do all sorts of things that American dogs can not, dogs I have met dinning out in France also come under to the category of well mannered. So are US dogs restricted because their owners are not good or not willing to train, or is it as a consequence of not needing those skills because they have to walk on a leash. I know with my own dog I have been working on improving his off leash skills since we made the decision to move to Europe so that he can enjoy being out and about and not have to be on his leash when others aren't. I have great recall and I don't let my dogs harass others but they don't walk with me when we go for walks, I drive to rural style parks or this being New England we have some great unused farm land as well and let them run, so they have learned that walks involve getting out the car and going for a run not a walk. We have not had any need for them to walk nicely with us, as we never take them anywhere they need to do that, we only use the skill when passing others so they are not relaxed just waiting for the release to go back to playing in the hedgerows, or trees.

 

Regarding getting ticketed, one of the towns we walk in had a very lazy animal control officer, she parked in the lot by one of our favorite places and just ticketed any unleashed dog walking back to the car however mannerly, one sighting by my husband and we devoloped the habit of leasing the dogs to and from the truck, once out of site off came the leash. Another one lurks near a popular walk, one that I feel dogs should be leashed on as it is a nationally known historic path and tickets those that go by, once again however mannerly. Some years there have been ticketing sessions at the beach, applied to all dogs, as a consequence we have not been to a local beach in years, we go elsewhere for them to swim.

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As a regular law breaker there are huge parts of this post I agree with, but I do wonder if what we are dealing is a chicken and egg situation of what came first

 

I honestly believe the ignorant, lazy, self-absorbed, and/or rude owners came first. But definitely all the restrictions then contribute to dogs who go fewer places. This results in the average owner who does minimal training never seeing the need to train off leash control. So the dog isn't taught to behave except at home, if that.

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So are US dogs restricted because their owners are not good or not willing to train, or is it as a consequence of not needing those skills because they have to walk on a leash.

 

FWIW, I live in a suburbain area with strict leash laws in shared public spaces yet I still work very hard with Camden to improve his off leash reliability. We are lucky to have some really wonderful off leash areas (huge open "dog" parks" and an entire canyon of hiking trails) nearby and this has been a great place to practice. I have also broken the leash law in areas of high visibility at our nearby park where I have ample time to leash him when I see someone approaching.

 

Even on leash we work on off leash manners (i.e. sit next to me if a horse or bike are passing, heel up with me when a runner passes, etc). I've always thought off leash manners were important so we've always worked on them, even though he's on leash the majority of the time...

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Even on leash we work on off leash manners (i.e. sit next to me if a horse or bike are passing, heel up with me when a runner passes, etc). I've always thought off leash manners were important so we've always worked on them, even though he's on leash the majority of the time...

My question / observation is not about the people who hang on this board, let's face it we are not the normal dog owning public, farmer or pet owner we are all interested in learning more about our dogs, I am sure the worst mannered dog among the regular participants here is miles above the average pet dog.

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technically except for the one off leash dog park, dog are never allowed off leash anywhere around here. I say "technically" because nobody really cares and AC officers don't do much to enforce it unless the dog is actually being a problem, if the dog is not actually causing an issue they just go "hey, your dog is required to be on a leash" lol(I know, because I have been caught with my dogs off leash by various AC officers 3 times) actually police and RCMP officers don't care, I live right next to the RCMP, I run into them with my illegally off leash dogs all the time..they smile and wave and carry on lol

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I honestly believe the ignorant, lazy, self-absorbed, and/or rude owners came first. But definitely all the restrictions then contribute to dogs who go fewer places. This results in the average owner who does minimal training never seeing the need to train off leash control. So the dog isn't taught to behave except at home, if that.

I think a lot of it is the gradual evolution of thought about dogs in general. Back in the '40s and earlier no one picked up dog poop. America was transitioning out of an era when horses were still used to pull milk and trash wagons, etc. There were still a lot of dirt roads - even in towns and cities. What's a little dog crap with all the mud horse poop around? It was normal to let your dog run loose, and to "put the cat out" at night.

 

With the continuing rise in affluence and the burgeoning of suburbia, and the paving and "tidying" of neighborhoods urban & suburban people came to resent loose dogs, and they were also at risk from proliferating motor vehicles. Rabies scares were common and laws were passed that required dogs in major cities to be leashed and muzzled. It wasn't so much that there were "bad" dog owners, but that all dogs began to be suspected of harboring "germs."

 

With standards of living and population continuing to rise, dog owners came into conflict with the new sanitized and ordered way of life for most Americans. The "neighborhood dog" that everyone fed off their back porch started to be seen as a nuisance.

 

Since as early as the '60s these changes affected the way we raised our kids, too. When I was young, we got kicked out of the house after breakfast - either for school or play on non-school days.

 

There were rules about how far away we could go, and places to stay away from, but as long as we didn’t get hurt too badly or cause someone to complain, we were on our own – just like the dogs and cats.

 

When I was a kid we shut our bitch up in the shed when she came in season. If she managed to get pregnant somehow the pups were given away, taken to the pound or drowned at birth. Now it’s different. Lots of people who own pets now grew up with the ideas of leashed dogs, spay and neuter, and obedience training. But it wasn’t always like that.

 

Our dog never saw the inside of a vet clinic, except to get a rabies shot. The idea of a prosthetic limb or $1,500.00 surgery would have evoked howls of laughter or concerns about the sanity of the dog’s owner.

 

Toys? I think we occasionally bought a rubber rat with a squeaker inside for a puppy. And of course there were sticks.

 

Sometimes dogs got run over. It was seen as inevitable. If the dog survived, it usually quit chasing cars. If a dog got sick – really sick – it “went off to die alone." It was taken for granted. When it got old or too badly injured to heal on its own it was shot. “Not right to let a dumb animal suffer.”

 

Now many people think of their dogs as “fur-babies,” or “my kids.” They buy them toys, keep them squeaky-clean and vigilantly guard them from all possible harm. They spend thousands of dollars for high-priced pet food, vet care, dog walkers, and dog activities. Some of this is good. Some I regard with deep suspicion.

 

In some ways I think that “King,” the “Police Dog” who hung out with the kids all over the neighborhood, got in the occasional glorious battle with “Mr. Price’s” Collie, and crapped – well, someplace – who knew or cared, had the better life than today’s micromanaged pet. In some instances the law compels us to take this route with our pets. In some cases it’s the peer-pressure of our fellow dog-owners. But it isn’t as simple as “good” or “bad” dog owners.

 

I have “caved” to some of the modern conventions for keeping a pet. I don’t let my cat go outdoors, except in a covered run, mostly because he will murder birds if I don’t. My dog is spayed, and eats “Taste of the Wild” kibble and raw meat. She is trained to walk quietly on a lead. We play fetch and Frisbee. She has a basket of toys, each of which she knows the name.

 

But my dog is not a “fur baby.” She’s a dog. And I’m and “old dog” too. I take slowly to “new tricks.” Sugarfoot goes off-leash a lot. And I’ve taught her, as best I can, what she needs to know to be safe off-leash. She likes it, and so do I. I doubt that that will change.

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I think the balance to this is having plenty of designated off leash areas where dogs can go be dogs and not have to be eternally tethered to their owner on a 6ft leash.

The problem here is that people do not even agree on the purpose and rules of off-leash dog parks. There are those that believe that dogs should have a place to go and just be dogs, without having to worry about their dogs every move. I am one of those people. While my dog has zero use for other dogs and we do not frequent parks where dogs play and socialise, we do go to off-leash forested areas for walks. I have 2 kids under four and have taught them to protect their snacks and sticks as best they can and I try to help them understand that sometimes dogs will eat a cracker out of your hand. I know that I am in an off-leash place and this might be the only place that that owner can take their dog and enjoy it. So I just accept it. Would it be great if everyone's dog was perfectly behaved? Yes but I don't own a doodle and my dog has a brain.

 

Others believe that dogs should always be perfectly mannered. This makes it difficult for people with ill-mannered dogs to ever let their dogs get off-leash exercise. I feel like it is reasonable to expect that dogs are generally friendly and safe in an off-leash situation and then the standards go up depending on where you are.

 

I have only had 2 dogs, both quite bright and I think I am a fairly intuitive trainer so my dogs have been very well behaved. But I would hope that if I ever have an unmanageable yahoo of a dog, I will still be able to let him loose to burn off steam without having people yell at me that my dog approached their dog at an off-leash location.

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The problem here is that people do not even agree on the purpose and rules of off-leash dog parks. There are those that believe that dogs should have a place to go and just be dogs, without having to worry about their dogs every move

Certainly most people who bring their dogs to the off-leash parks here expect their dogs to interact with other dogs and other people. My previous foster, Jasper, loved to rough-house with the bigger dogs and the owners were happy to watch them play together. My current foster is only interested in fetching balls and does the rounds of people to train them to throw his ball. He ignores other dogs completely. Most dogs are in between the two extremes.

 

It's interesting to see how dogs can form impromptu packs, where they will act protectively when a strange dog comes and harasses a regular member of the group (and that might even be a two legged member). This mostly happens at the smaller park I visit, where many of us are regulars.

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In some ways I think that “King,” the “Police Dog” who hung out with the kids all over the neighborhood, got in the occasional glorious battle with “Mr. Price’s” Collie, and crapped – well, someplace – who knew or cared, had the better life than today’s micromanaged pet.

 

Sure, those dogs who survived, some of them, at least until their at times rough deaths, had lots of fun and freedom. The dog of my childhood lived a very different life than my dogs today though we paid lots of money to the vet for his care over the years. He was greatly loved but many of the things we did back then I would never do or allow today. Today I see those practices as ignorant and carrying a number of risks. As we know, it is a different world today. Good or bad, 21st Century dogs and their owners in many areas of the US are expected to behave in certain ways or the dogs should stay home.

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I would say that Vancouver is very dog-friendly. Almost all school grounds welcome off-leash dogs before 8 am and after 5 pm (although they are not allowed at the actual playground with equipment and such). There are designated dog beaches where dogs can be off-leash at all times and others where dogs are permitted off-leash during certain hours. Dogs on-leash are permitted almost everywhere and there are urban forests with both on-leash and off-leash sections......

Officially dogs aren't allowed offleash on the schoolgrounds here. The signs for this are very confusing and friends of mine got ticketed 3x $250 for having their dog at a Vancouver school ground. The sign at the entrance says 'dogs must be on leash when entering the school ground' - which makes everyone think that after that, they are allowed to run free. Our friends went to court over this issue, and lost, with the judge saying that if they thought the sign was unclear they should have contacted the school board. Animal Control patrols the schoolyards and if you take off on them, they will follow you around to you house, herrasing you in the most rude possible way. I have heard this from many people.

 

I don't think Vancouver is that dog friendly. In summer, Park Officers are patrolling around fining people for playing eith their dog while picknicking in the park. Transit does not allow dogs. Outside patio's don't allow dogs. Most dog parks are close to roads and not fenced in and the onces that are, are so tiny, you can't even throw a bal. Spanish Banks is next to a busy road. Trout Lake is full of parasites. Crab Park is full of drug users. North Vancouver has some amazing trails, but that is a completely different city.

 

BUT

I moved here from the Netherlands and dogs are allowed even in casual restaurants. We'd always go walk in he forest to a pub there, and the dogs would just lay under the table. There are leash rules but you would never get herrassed by anyone. You can take your dog anywhere and it is assumed you use your own brain and judgement.

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Putting aside the problem of untrained, aggressive or menacing dogs, there is the annoying, disgusting issue of people not cleaning up after their dogs, which is behind many "no dogs allowed" rules. After apartment living and just walking my dogs, it is clear that some owners are inconsiderate pigs. I recently read an article about some apartments and home owner associations requiring dog owners to have their dogs DNA tested so any piles left behind can be tested and the owners fined, or if the problem continues, be evicted. And some offenders are actually ticked off when they get caught. Yes, some owners are such selfish sacks of hair that even though they are told (and sometimes sign agreements) that their neighbors and landlords want them to clean up their dogs feces, they refuse to do so and are hacked off when confronted or fined.

 

There is a park very near us that Camden and I walk to daily that has a beautiful trail area. It is completely littered with feces. Yes, some of it is from the wildlife that lives there, but the majority of it is from dog owners not cleaning up after their pets. Picking up waste is a different topic then being off leash, so I don't mean to deviate too much from the original post here, but I worry that the park will eventually ban dogs all together because the place is so disgusting. It's gotten so bad that, once a week, I take pockets full of extra bags to pick up as much as I can find. I call it my "poop karma". B) I don't want my dog to lose the right to even be in a public space because other people aren't responsible.

 

But I would hope that if I ever have an unmanageable yahoo of a dog, I will still be able to let him loose to burn off steam without having people yell at me that my dog approached their dog at an off-leash location.

 

That would be very odd where I live... most people assume if you go to a designated off leash area you will, in fact, encounter off leash dogs interacting with one another. Dogs, do need a place where they can just relax and have fun, after all. Even the runners, bikers, etc. who frequent these areas are very aware that THEY are in the DOG'S playground and typically yield to them. My one rule in these areas is not to let my dog approach on leash dogs without making sure it's OK beforehand (if a dog is on a leash, even in an off leash area, I find it's safer to ask then to assume anything).

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I live in a part of the country where (in general) there are strict leash laws: dogs are supposed to be leashed unless they're on your own property, or unless you pay for the privilege of joining a "dog park" (small fenced-in area, often populated by clueless owners who sit or throw balls for dogs who may or may not engage in aggressive behavior. Qualifications for joining are basically that your dog(s) are licensed and vaccinations are up-to-date. Most specify that your dog can lose the right to participate if it's aggressive, but who polices this?). I'd rather participate in the dogs' exercise - take them for off-leash hikes, getting some exercise while I also enjoy nature and the changing of the seasons through the year.

 

We used to have a great area (the woods surrounding a lake that formerly served as the drinking water reservoir for the City of Baltimore - about 450 acres of woods, streams, and lake). But a few years ago, the City (who never enforced leash laws) deeded the land to the County. Several people owning houses adjacent to this area joined its newly-formed Nature Council. Some of them happened to view dogs as dangerous beasts, and had enough political "pull" that they managed to ensure that leash laws were (for the first time in twenty years) enforced in this area. In fact one of them bought an all-terrain vehicle so that he could, personally, patrol the trails (contributing to soil erosion in the process). They had enough political "pull" that the County has hired a half-dozen rangers (with mountain bikes) who patrol this one park - whereas the other parks in this County are largely unpatrolled. The fines for an off-leash dog in this one park are prohibitive (people have received warnings of ~ $300, as opposed to the $30 I've heard for walking your dog off-leash on a school playing field in the County on weekends). As a result, the community of dog owners that previously used this area has been largely dispersed. It's sad, as we previously used to share tips, on topics ranging from dog training to health issues.

 

I've found a new area (around the City's current drinking water reservoir), scarcely populated, very serene, with few if any "patrols". The benefits to me to be able to hike for a couple of miles with the dogs off-leash are huge - this is one of the parts of my "quality of life" that I rank very high, even though I recognize I'm violating the letter of the law each time I take them out. But I do miss the community of "dog walkers" I used to formerly enjoy.

 

My dogs are all well-trained. We share the trails with other dog owners, bikers, and joggers (infrequently as we now encounter them). I work to train the dogs that they should "lie down" (and STAY) on the side of the trails when anyone else approaches. (It's a continuing challenge with the puppy, who has never met another dog or person he doesn't love, but we're getting there). We try to be good citizens who clean up after our dogs while respecting the rights of others to use the trails unmolested.

 

I know there are places in the United States (e.g., Boulder, CO) where dogs can hike off-leash legally if they obtain the relevant permit (by virtue of proving they're under their handler's voice control). This is a model a friend of mine tried to push when leash laws were first being enforced at the park we all used to enjoy. She spent a good year and a half fighting to try to restore the rights of dogwalkers. But the powers that be weren't willing to entertain the notion of hiking with dogs as a legitimate form of recreation.

 

There's a very interesting book on the topic of rights of dogwalkers vs other recreational uses; it explores several case histories. Unfortunately the dog-walking population tends to lose out in this country.

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I don't have a dog in this fight, so to speak. I just thank my lucky stars that I live on a farm, in a rural area. I can walk my dogs off-leash (or on) on my own farm, on the property of almost all my neighbors (can ride a horse there, if I have one, or a bike), and up and down our road. I never did realize just how blessed we are before reading this topic.

 

But when we visit the Outer Banks, it's leashes for neighborhood walks (where dogs walking with their people are also on leash but dogs are often loose on their property - and wandering in nearby yards) and on the beaches because that's the law and the fines are steep. And, yes, in violation of the leash law on the beach, we have let the dogs play loose, way early or late in the day but not on recent trips. They've tightened up on enforcement. The "right" patrol comes along and sees your dogs are mannerly and under control and having fun, and they might just keep on driving. The "wrong" patrol comes along and no matter how good the dogs are being, you can be fined. Not worth it.

 

Fortunately, we make sure to stay on the sound side where we play off-leash with our dogs and no one seems to care. It's not the beach...

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Where i most frequently let Odin off lead in a sort of unusual setting i wouldn't trust most dogs with, it is "dangerous" in that it is near a busy road but it is not actually illegal because it is the private proverty of my office complex.

 

Essentially in the us it is very variable, and i wouldn't really say it makes much sense having lived in so many places with so many varying laws. We've definitely been accosted by ill-mannered dogs who were on leash frequently enough that its not really a bullet-proof solution to any problem in my opinion. Although it is true there are many dogs i see behaving so badly on leash I'm happy they at least have that small amount of restraint. I don't try to "subject" anyone to me and Odin, as he's under control enough that we can be very unobtrusive, which is how we typically choose to be. In my neighborhood now it is rural enough that an off leash dog is not even considered out of place, as long as it is safe and mannerly. And people are pretty forgiving even for the dogs who aren't.

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Just wondering why you pick on 1988. The population of the UK in that year was nearly 57 million. It is now around 63 million and set to break 70 million in 2029. We all have to accept more restrictions on the way we live our lives.

 

Yes, like having fewer babies...

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Yes, like having fewer babies...

Slightly OT but the UKs population growth has nothing to do with babies, being part of the EU and a popular destination for immigrants from many parts is the reason for the population growth.

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My county's laws are fairly liberal. The ordinance states that the dog must be "leashed or under the control of the owner and obedient to the owner's command."

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Dear Doggers,

 

Slightly off-topic but germane. I wonder at doggy political activism. It is fairly easy to round up a quorum to defeat anti pet shop, anti puppy mill legislation on the grounds that "1st the commercial breeders, then you and Fluffy." It is even possible to defeat antibreed legislation.

 

But although we (probably) agree that it would be better for mannerly (even certifiably mannerly) US dogs to have more off lead access including but not limited to: outdoor cafes, parks, office buildings, beaches and transit, getting any dogger to strive for improved access is like pulling teeth. Recently a bill was introduced to let dogs on Amtrak. Did anyone besides myself bother to write their congressman?

 

The Dog Fancy has elevated paranoia to such a fever pitch, they've exhausted all the energy in the room.

 

Donald McCaig

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After the interactions I have had with dogs in public spaces, I am not sure dogs on trains is the best idea. Not the dogs on this board, but the Jack Russell that pulled his flexi leash from his owner's hand to zoom past Quinn and attack my geriatric Sheltie, knocking her over. Or the dogs that customers bring to the mental health clinic where I work where it is not uncommon for those dogs to growl at people, pee on furniture or poop on our floors. I try not to think about possible fleas. If many owners appear unable to control their dogs on leash, never mind off leash, then I see all kinds of issues with them on crowded trains

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Dear Doggers,

 

Slightly off-topic but germane. I wonder at doggy political activism. It is fairly easy to round up a quorum to defeat anti pet shop, anti puppy mill legislation on the grounds that "1st the commercial breeders, then you and Fluffy." It is even possible to defeat antibreed legislation.

 

But although we (probably) agree that it would be better for mannerly (even certifiably mannerly) US dogs to have more off lead access including but not limited to: outdoor cafes, parks, office buildings, beaches and transit, getting any dogger to strive for improved access is like pulling teeth. Recently a bill was introduced to let dogs on Amtrak. Did anyone besides myself bother to write their congressman?

 

The Dog Fancy has elevated paranoia to such a fever pitch, they've exhausted all the energy in the room.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

I hate to mention the dreaded AKC, but do they play any role in pro dog politics, or is that a stupid question?

 

I ask because our KC is always there in the forefront pushing for the rights of dog owners in society, not just those with pedigree dogs, and it is usually accompanied by the major welfare charities. The little man doesn't have to fight his battles alone in this regard. Having high profile organisations on board is a huge help.

 

Our KC may have its faults, and big ones, but it also has its good points.

 

The KC actually runs our own Westminster Dog Show - for dogs belonging to MPs, pedigree or not. Just a bit of fun but it's good PR and underlines the connection between our legislators and the people they serve.

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There is an over-reaching leash law here that applies to the entirity of city limits. I personally think it's dumb and let my dogs off leash almost every day. I try to use common sense though and to be courteous. There is a 400 acre park right next to my house with lots of open areas and much of the time there's only one or two other people in it. If it is crowded (on those nice 70 degree days) then they stay leashed. If it's not then I let them go. They have fantastic off leash skills and in 2 1/2 years we've never had an issue other than a couple people with unleashed dogs on crowded days in the parking lot (why?).

 

I actually ran into a cop yesterday while out there and they didn't say anything at all. I wish it were more dog friendly. :( I don't LIKE breaking the law but it is hands down the best exercise for my dogs. I really think getting to run and run off leash is so beneficial for dogs and the yards here tend to be small in town. I can't imagine my dogs being limited to just life in the back yard or on a leash. I'm sure we'd survive but I wish there were more legal options for exercising dogs off leash.

 

There is one designated area where you're allowed to let dogs off leash- at the dog park. It's about 5 acres. The small dog side is not any bigger than my back yard with absolutely nothing in it. Not even a tree. The open dog side (for any size dog) is I think 4-5 acres and usually packed to the brim. I've been there twice and seen fights both times. No thank you. Not to mention my dogs aren't dog friendly.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Ms. Mum24dogs asks, "I hate to mention the dreaded AKC, but do they play any role in pro dog politics . . .?"

 

I believe they oppose any and all legislation that might effect their ability to sell papers and/or hold dog shows.

 

Otherwise . . . I know of nothing they do or have done to benefit dogs. Some years ago I testified at a congressional hearing on improving animal (including dog) care in research facilities. Opposed? Big Pharma and Big U. In favor - various animal welfare groups. AKC? Nowhere to be seen.

 

Donald McCaig

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I'm in WA state, US. There are leash laws everywhere. I think there are trails on federal land (national forest land ) that allow dogs off lead if they are under verbal control, but they are too far away from me to visit regularly.

 

However, out here in the west, there are millions and millions of acres of protected land and very few rangers out there patrolling, so it's pretty common to hike or trail run with a dog off lead. I do it, I encounter many others who do. If you're on a wayside picnic area or some roadside area that you can drive up to, you run a risk of getting ticketed, but out on the trail, I don't think I've ever even seen a ranger out patrolling.

 

If I'm in the neighborhood I keep my dog on lead as a courtesy, not because she's not trustworthy, but because some folks just aren't comfortable around off lead dogs. I do the same hiking, I'll hook her up if I'm coming to another party on the trail just as a courtesy. I will let her off if I'm in a community trail or park and there's no one else around, but on sidewalks and whatnot, I keep her on lead.

 

There are also a lot of dog parks out her in the eastside of Seattle (pretty dog friendly place, really) - including a 40 acre one that's a lot of fun, big enough to actually do some running with your dog off lead, legally.

 

 

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