Friday, May 13, 2011

It happened at the park . . .

Yesterday, after dinner, we took the kids to our neighborhood park.  The weather was perfect and my son had just purchased an aerobie disc and we wanted to try it out as a family.

Just as we crossed onto the grass, a big dog, taller than my four year old, came running up to us.  My kids squealed and my husband hollered out, "This dog needs to be on a leash."  There were a lot of people at the park and we didn't know who he belonged to.

FYI:  In the city we live in, all city parks with the exception of one designated "dog park" are leash-only parks.  This is a huge issue in our city and signs are posted everywhere.   At a recent city council meeting that I happened to attend with the 11 year old scouts, we learned they have hired two more animal control officers to deal with an increasing problem of people being at city parks without a leash.  

So, we continued walking and said dog kept running up to and around us.  My husband then again hollered out, "This dog needs to be on a leash!"  A woman, hollered out to him, "Thanks Dad," and hollered at her dog to come to her.  She petted him and off he ran again, to squat and do his number two business on the grass.

My husband went up to her and said, "Are you really going to ignore the leash policy and not clean up your dog's mess?"

She said, "He is just squatting, not actually doing anything.  (Which was not true, as there was a fresh pile of dog mess right where her dog had been squatting).  She then said, "I don't have their leashes (she actually had two dogs with her) and everyone lets their dogs run free at this park."

My husband said, "I don't care if everyone does it.  It is against city ordinance and you need to leave with your dogs."  She then said, "Well, if you are going to police me, you need to police everyone who does it at all parks in this city.  I am here every day."  My husband said, "I am glad to know you are here every day, so when I call animal control, I can give them a good description."

She then said, "My dogs are harmless.  They love kids."  My husband said, "We don't know that and my kids don't love dogs."

She then said, "That is your problem, you need to teach your kids to love dogs.  Look at them,  they are crying.  This is your fault. "  And my kids were crying for two reasons: a big dog they didn't know kept running up to them and their father was in a heated argument with a stranger--two very scary things.

I have no tolerance for people who refuse to take personal responsibility.  My husband was handling the situation just fine but when when she blamed us, I lost my cool.  I stepped in and said, "Excuse me but whether you knew the rules or not before,  you now do.  We have informed you.  I don't care if 'everyone does it' because we are speaking directly to you.  You need to take personal responsibility of this situation and either keep your dogs on a leash or take them home now.  And, pick up their 'mess' they leave behind."

She did leave and we did call animal control.  I don't hate dogs but sometimes I don't like their owners.


Queen Elizabeth said...

I totally agree with you. The elevation pets to human levels is ridiculous. My in-laws are dog lovers and when my kids were young, it was a bit of a problem. (Picture: baby and Rottweiler. Ugh.) I happen to love dogs but not when they are out of control and their owners don't recognize that not everyone loves them.

Michelle said...

We are dog owners and train a service dog, but we respect the leash laws here in Sandy. In fact, I informed a mom at a neighborhood park to keep her little dog on a leash because animal control is so vigilant. She good-naturedly fussed about how strict Sandy is compared to Sugarhouse, but I believe that is what makes our city so family friendly.

On another note, HOW do these dog owners get away with letting their dogs off-leash on a daily basis; yet the instant we release our service dog to work out a search problem, animal control shows up.

Amy E. said...

I have strong feelings about dogs being on leashes as well. We have a leash law in our town (not just the parks) and last summer my husband was riding his bike when an unleashed dog ran right out in front of him. His choice was to continue and hit the dog or go down an embankment. He hit the dog, and ended up separating his shoulder and with a mean case of roadrash. The owner was not at all concerned that my husband was going into shock, he was just concerned about his dog.
And I also know too many people who have bitten by dogs who "have never done anything like this before" Way to go, Toothsomes! :)

Kari said...

Oohhh--oohhh--big dog pet peeves! How many times have you walked into someone's house and their big dog JUMPS UP ON YOU??!? I've been assigned to VT a lady whose dog rules her home. She good-naturedly does NOTHING when the dog puts his big front paws, muddy or wet or grassy, up on my chest. My remedy, because I VT her: suck it up with a teeth-gritting smile, and change into my rattiest, thrasher clothes when I go to her house.