Irresponsible Dog Owners in Public Areas

As the mother of three small children, I often find myself spending an hour or two at our local park. My husband always accompanies us on these little “adventures” in an effort to keep a close eye on our children. Though exhausting at times, we all enjoy our time at the park. Not only do the hubby and I get our daily exercise but it’s almost a guarantee that our three toddlers will go to bed a little easier after depleting a good amount of their energy.
Aside from letting our children play in the playground area, we also take them for walks along the various walking paths that are often used by runners and people walking their dogs. As a former dog owner and the daughter in law of a Veterinarian, I know that not all dogs are kid friendly and no matter how “friendly” a dog may seem it’s never wise to leave a child unattended with them. Contrary to what people may believe, you are more likely to get bitten by a dog you know than one you do not. My husband and I have therefore been teaching our children not to go up to dogs they don’t know. They get excited every time they see a “puppy,” but they’ve caught on very well and don’t run up to any strange dogs.

Lately, I’ve been more than slightly annoyed with certain dog owners who have been frequenting the park. One, in particular, stands out simply because his dog is so aggressive. He has a large male Pitbull which is evidently not a friendly dog. Much to my and my husband’s dismay he doesn’t even have his dog on a short leash. He uses an adjustable leash in which his dog is allowed the full reign of. I’ve seen this dog try to lunge for runners and anyone else that gets too close to him. Upon seeing this dog anywhere near us my husband and I pick up both of our twins and grab our three-year-old by the hand, making a huge circle around dog and owner.

How a dog owner could show, such a lack of concern is beyond my understanding. Taking an aggressive dog to a public park full of runners and tons of children is simply irresponsible. Not only do they not care for the safety of those people who could be harmed by such a dog but they obviously don’t care about the safety of their animal as well. I do understand that parks are open to the public but if you know your dog is not good with other people don’t take him to an area that is crowded with them.

While I may not agree with the bills that are being passed in various cities that forbid certain dog breeds such as Pitbulls, its owners such as this which bring around such bills in the first place. If such dog owners used a little common sense, we could avoid bills such as these. If you have an aggressive dog don’t take him to crowded public areas or if you do want to take him on long walks in the park, pick a time when there are fewer people. Late in the evenings or early in the mornings would be ideal. Keep your dog on a short leash, so you have control over the dog at all times.

Unfortunately, not all parents are as cautious as my husband and I when it comes to other people’s dogs, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve winced as I’ve watched a small child rush over to pet a strange dog while their parents do nothing. If you know your dog doesn’t like children or other people make sure to let parents or random strangers who feel the need to pet your dog know. If you’re unsure about how your dog reacts to people and don’t feel comfortable with people petting your dog, let them know! It’s better to be safe than sorry. The majority of dog bites are not the fault of the dogs themselves but their owners.

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