Monday, April 27, 2009

Am I unreasonable?

Yesterday Dennis and I went for a gentle stroll around Taylor Park. The park has a small wooded area with squirrels, a hill for kids to roll down and an enclosed adventure playground. But mostly it is a concrete pathway around this small lake come large pond.

The building in the foreground is the old boat shed from the days ( back when I were a kid) when you could hire rowing boats. On a Sunday morning an ice cream van parks there. There are many small children in this park at weekend, including a number of toddlers on reins and little tots on their first bikes with stabilisers, particularly as you can imagine, around the ice cream van.

So anyway, there we are strolling around the pond towards the van and we go to overtake a family whose dog is running in front of them. As we are about level the dog comes bounding back and causes me to stop dead to avoid tripping over it which I only just managed. The woman who owned the dog said,

"Sorry. He likes running around and tripping people up."

Because (a) the comment seemed to invite it (b) I am professionally used to expressing an opinion and sitting in judgement and (c) because I don't know when to keep my mouth shut, I said, as I passed her,

"That's why he should be on a leash."

I did not expect that this would cause a problem. But she started yelling "Excuse me? What did you just say?" (The question being rather redundant as she then repeated it to her husband who started shouting, "He's not doing any harm.").

Because of (a) (b) and especially (c) above I turned around, and said "I am sorry but there are a lot of very small children around here and I am worried that one of them may get hurt or bitten" Husband then starts glaring at me. He is big. All I want is an ice cream and Dennis is hissing "Stop picking a fight." So I shake my head ruefully and walk away. Fairly fast.

I am glad to see that by the time they catch us up at the van the dog is leashed. I am not saying the dog ( which was a kind of spaniel type thing) should not be in the park. By all means use one of those extending leashes so he can run and bound and be stopped in his tracks when he gets somewhere problematic. But to my mind, bounding spaniel + concrete path + toddling two year old can so easily = fall, broken bones and phobic child. Even if it is a dog which has no teeth whoatsover and therefore could not possible nip a child who panics and lashes out when this thing, which is not a huge dog but equals the size of a child, runs at them.

But then, I do not own a dog. Am I being unreasonable?

12 comments:

Fran├žoise said...

Not at all... My dog is always on a leash in public spaces.

Vicki W said...

The dog owner is unreasonable! She'll learn when her dog bites someone and she has to hire a nice lady lawyer to try to defend her assets.

Gerrie said...

No, and that is why my dog is always on a leash in public.

Feather on a Wire said...

Not at all unreasonable. If they have no control over the dog then it should be on a lead. One local lady has suffered permanent brain damage from a small dog tripping her over and causing her to fall on the path. She has severe memory problems and had to sue the dogs owners (luckily insured).
Personally I feel it was a retrograde step when the dog licence was done away with. I think ALL dogs should be licensed at a fee of something like £100. Liability insurance should be part of obtaining a license. If people cannot afford this, they cannot afford vet bills either and so should not have one in the first place.
And believe it or not, I love dogs. Unruly owners get me down.....

sophie said...

I love dogs, too, but that dog owner's comment to you was a little crazy and invited your response. Do you suppose her companion suggestedto her that perhaps she invited your response?

I'm sure if anyone else was within earshot, they appreciated you voicing what most would consider simple common courtesy (and common sense.)

Becky said...

Not unreasonable at all. Seems that a lot of dog owners (I am one) think that the parks are for them and their dogs and they really shouldn't have to follow leash rules. Totally agree with you, you don't know when the dog could bite.

Kristin L said...

Park full of children plus dog who "likes running around tripping people up" is a problem waiting to happen. I'd worry less about the possibility of a bite and more about the inadvertent knocking over of a kid. I've experienced lots of well meaning friendly dogs pushing over kids -- not limited to small wobbly ones either. You're not unreasonable at all!

Kay said...

No! Not only are toddlers in danger, but so are older people. And as Vicki points out, there could be some legal problems for the owners down the road. (But that's in the US; you are perhaps less prone to sue.)

Diana said...

Not at all! She was the unreasonable one. I would worry about the dog chasing a child into the lake or the path of a car.

The Calico Cat said...

Not at all... Over here, with the exception of dog specific parks, dogs must be leashed... & You haev to pick up your dogs excrement as well... - Something you might "miss" if he is bounding off on his own...

Shasta said...

It seems to me that the people who have the least control of their pets are the ones who feel they should be able to run free. If you know your dog likes to trip people, maybe you should train it not to do that. And if you can't train it, then you certainly aren't going to be able to stop it from afar, even if you see a potentially dangerous situation.
It is because of this that it always scares me when I see a dog without a leash.

Heather Thorp said...

Don't get me started on the whole dog poo thing - it should be more strongly enforced.