Letter To The Editor: Off-Leash Dog Incidents Mount! Who Is Safe?

By NYLEA BUTLER-MOORE
Resident of Quemazon
Los Alamos

In recent days, my husband, two dogs, and I have experienced AT LEAST 23 incidences with unleashed dogs in neighborhoods and on nearby trails. Three of these encounters resulted in injuries to myself and two resulted in injuries to our leashed dogs. What can be done to stop this?

Despite the county’s leash law, many dog owners do not see the need for leashes, letting their dogs, which are not under voice control, run wild. We have been rushed and/or attacked so often by off-leash dogs, that this has become an almost daily occurrence. Consequently, one of my dogs is now terrified and feels threatened due to the off-leash encounters. We do not feel safe walking our leashed dogs even in our own neighborhood, which is where many of the encounters have happened.

Sometimes the owners are nowhere to be seen. Other times, the owners stand there watching and don’t do anything to control their animals. One person even tried to hit my husband when he kicked the off-leash dog, which was jumping on top of our leashed dog. Many proclaim that their dogs are friendly while their off-leash canines rush toward our dogs. The truth is that even the friendliest of dogs can get into a fight with other dogs, and we truly never know how our dog is going to react to every situation. Just because one dog is friendly doesn’t mean that other dogs are, or that every “meeting” between strange dogs is going to end well.

For us, the off-leash incidents have become a serious problem. What was once an enjoyable time out with our dogs has become fraught with tension and anxiety for both human and dog alike. We can no longer walk on certain streets or trails, and were even told by Animal Control, “Don’t walk down those streets anymore.” Okay, so if we don’t walk down those streets (or trails), where do we walk? Safe places are becoming fewer and fewer. Both freedom and safety are diminishing because some pet owners are not complying with the leash law, putting responsible humans and their furry companions at risk.

Does the leash law have “teeth?” Is it enforceable? Is safety truly a concern in our community? Right now, the answer seems to us to be a resounding NO!

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