To the Dogs

I’ve been reduced, after thirty years, to defining good runs as ones when I encounter no loose dogs. In the span of ten minutes Saturday morning, I encountered an unleashed Doberman Pinscher in one community park and then an over-sized terrier in another park.

In this community, I’ve been chased by unleashed dogs through parks, up trees, and around cars by rottweilers, German Shepherds, Labs, and many others. I’ve even been accosted by these slobbery, muddy creatures on leashes when their owners cannot control them.

I’ve asked both owners to leash their dogs and called the police to confront these and other incidents on numerous occasions. A police officer told me to stop confronting these owners and to call them instead. A park supervisor insisted that, despite the seven leash law signs, nothing can be done.

Their owners, when they’re present, often act as if I’m an equally entitled neighbor. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that almost 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and that nearly 1 in 5 of these bites require medical attention. In 2012, more than 27,000 people had reconstructive surgery.

I have few other options besides accepting what I cannot change even when it is insulting and illegal. Still, I wonder why a place that professes such respect for differences, and that posts leash law signs in parks, is incapable of convincing its residents that ordinances that apply to others also apply to them.

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