Dear Henry: I am so frustrated! I feel like I can’t walk my dog with out being attacked by another dog that is not on leash. At least 3 times a week when I walk my small dog on leash, a dog that is not on leash confronts us. I am concerned for not only my safety but also my dogs. Is there any advice you can give me? Thank you. — Jamie
Dear Jamie: I completely understand and join you in your frustration. It is an all to common practice around the lake, people walking their dogs without a leash. This extremely irresponsible behavior by dog owners is not only dangerous for the dog but the owner as well. Just last week, three of the medical assistance vouchers that the Lake Tahoe Humane Society gave out were because of life threatening injuries that could have been avoided if the dogs had been on leash. The first was a dog who’s owner was taking him out to the yard to go to the bathroom, the owner did not leash the dog prior to opening the door and the dog decided it wanted to go to the beach, ran across Highway 50 and was promptly hit by a car. The other two dogs got in fights with other dogs that were off leash. The pain and suffering of the dogs not to mention the expense could have been avoided if the owners had leashed their dogs.
Sadly there is not much you can do other than try to educate people on the importance of keeping their dogs on leash. Whenever I see a dog off leash and I am not walking my dog I politely approach the owner and remind them of the risks of walking a dog off leash and that there are leash laws in South Lake Tahoe. If I am walking my dog and see a dog off leash I am inclined to be more concerned with my safety and the safety of my dog so I choose to leave the area. When walking your dog always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to other people and their dogs. If you feel you are in a dangerous situation call 911. If you see a dog roaming without an owner present immediately call The El Dorado County Animal Services, 530-573-7925.
For those reading this article that disagree with walking you’re dog on a leash (which is about 30 percent of you) here are some reasons you should change your thought process. Foremost, when your dog is under your control — meaning you have him on a leash — he’s less likely to get into something he’s not supposed to. Off leash and romping unfettered through the woods or park, he may eat something he’s not supposed to, step in a bee hive, fall into a hole, drink from a polluted puddle of standing water, eat a dead animal or get eaten by an animal! There’s often glass, stray food, or other remnants that could be dangerous for Fido. Just because your dog is friendly doesn’t mean every dog is friendly. Not everyone you meet on the trail is physically able to withstand a dog jumping on them, even a nice dog. What if your dog charges at a family with children? Even if your dog is friendly it can knock a child or elderly person down causing injury. For your dog’s safety and the safety of others, keep your dog with you and under your control, that means on a leash.
Remember to Leash a dog is to Love a dog. — Hopeful Henry
Submit your questions or letters via email to email@example.com or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry.