Letters to the Editor

Respect leash laws

As a dog owner who often walks her two rescued foster dogs in Dockton Forest, I respectfully ask other dog enthusiasts to please keep their animals on a leash while enjoying the trails.

Leash laws exist to protect equestrians, pets and the public from nuisance animals. No one wants to think of their beloved best friend as a nuisance, but unleashed dogs pose a danger to bicyclists, pedestrians, horses and leashed dogs — as well as to themselves.

Recently, my leashed, large-breed dogs were charged by two unleashed terriers on the trail — an aggressive act that resulted in my dog defending himself and the terrier being injured. This incident was traumatic for all, and I am deeply saddened that an animal was hurt. However, I remind dog owners that the responsibility to protect your animals resides with you. The law only serves to protect the public if all abide by it.

Leash your dogs. Don’t rely on the excuse that your animal is under “voice control.” Voice control means the dog responds and retreats even under distraction.  Don’t think what your dog is doing when charging toward another dog is “just saying hi.” Especially toward a leashed dog. It’s not. It’s a threat. And it’s dangerous.

And don’t blame the breed.  It’s not fair. I’m tired of large dogs taking the blame for small dogs without manners. My dogs were on a leash. From now on, I will muzzle my dog. Is that fair? He will have no defense if — or when — another dog charges and nips at him.

On Vashon we like our freedoms and we like our dogs. We also respect each other, despite our differences. We’re weird like that. But please respect the leash law — for dogs big and small. It’s only fair.

— Kim Cunningham

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