Letters to the Editor

Unleashed dogs keep causing problems | Letter to the Editor

I’m done. I’m done being an apologist for folks who let their dogs roam unsupervised and unleashed. I’m done being threatened by aggressive dogs. I’m done smiling through gritted teeth as a neighbor says their dog “isn’t usually like that.”

Recently my wife and (leashed) dog were threatened while on our property by a free-roaming dog, teeth bared. Luckily a handful of rocks scared the dog away. This kind of thing happens frequently.

Last month my brother-in-law and my dog encountered another hostile dog near our property. He was less fortunate than my wife, being severely bitten (by our own terrified dog) trying to prevent a fight. Without this intervention my pet could have been seriously harmed by a dog four times his size.

This spring I narrowly avoided hitting an unleashed dog being walked by its owner when it darted into the road. (Yes, I was going the speed limit. No, this isn’t nearly the first occurrence).

Think I’m some big city person who doesn’t understand small-town life? Wrong. I’m from a rural town much smaller than Vashon. And I’m fed up.

The Island has many well-trained dogs, some who do beautifully walking unleashed along the road. (If you had to think about it, then your dog isn’t among them.) My own dog is no paragon of good behavior; that’s why he’s leashed. And if I want him running freely around my property I’ll build a fence. (The toll that free-roaming dogs and cats take on our wildlife is another issue that must wait for my next rant).

I have no wish to harm an aggressive dog simply because it’s untrained and unattended by an irresponsible owner. But knowing it’s not the dog’s fault does little to lessen my frustration.

 

— Sam Van Fleet


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