Using a leash is a matter of safety
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 06:00 am
After reading the last several weeks of back and forth commentary on the issue of leashing one’s canine, I feel compelled to contribute my two cents’ worth.
The issue boils down to safety. Safety for humans and animals alike. Dogs, while long considered “man’s best friend,” are by nature a pack animal. While the vast majority of dogs would never attack another creature unprovoked, there are a small percentage that are more prone to this, despite generations of domestication. Whether that is due to the owner’s training of them or their own predisposition, it matters not. What does matter is that this is a predictably unpredictable consequence, which can have tragic results.
After chatting with my neighbours who are health-care professionals for humans and animals, I was not surprised to learn that emergency room treatments for both are a fairly common event. And both are the victims of dog bites.
So we as a community have a choice. Do we ban dogs altogether from St. Albert? Do we take a more radical approach and put bounties on them, as has been done in some communities for their wolf and coyote cousins? Ridiculous and unreasonable, so what is reasonable?
If we all understand this danger then we can also appreciate that the simplest, most cost-effective and humane way to help control this pet is a leash. Will that completely eliminate the problem? It’s doubtful, but look at the alternatives and you decide what is most reasonable.
The problem is dogs biting people and other dogs, not people biting other people and dogs. So unless we have some sort of zombie-inspired, post-apocalyptic event, we need not worry about leashing people, but rather, leashing dogs. Of course, we may even eliminate some of the dog waste that keeps finding its way into our wide-open on-leash park areas, or in my case, the front lawn. I must also point out that those who have the leash in their hand while their dog runs around on the trail system unleashed clearly misunderstand the proper use of a leash. Feel free as a community to respectfully point this out to them as they may be unknowingly putting you and your loved ones in danger.
To the many community-minded and responsible dog owners, proper leashing of their pet is already being done so there is no debate. To those who deny their sweet Mr. Bojangles could ever hurt another soul, I would refer you to my older sister, Cristine, who at the tender age of six had her right ear nearly completely removed by an otherwise loving, freely roaming neighbour’s dog. The reconstruction that was done by our plastic surgeon neighbour was remarkable and the scars are barely visible, nearly 40 years later. Surprisingly and after many years, she is now a lover of dogs, but does not walk her two dogs unleashed. I wonder why?
Colin Diener, St. Albert