Friday, January 17, 2014

Who Let Their Dogs Out?

   “Who let the dogs out?” was a huge hit for the Baja Men in 2000.  It is still played at ballgames, featured in cartoons, and emblazoned on t-shirts.  The song is catchy and funny.  The problem is that too many people actually do let the dogs out on a regular basis.
   Many people believe dogs should be allowed to roam free instead of being behind a fence or on a leash.  I have so many problems with that mindset; it makes me want to scream.  The dangers of a loose dog are monumental, not just to the dog but also people, other dogs, and the dog’s owner.  Let’s look at the reasons against letting your dogs run free.
1.     Cars: How many times have you seen a dog lying dead in the middle of the road?  Someone has to live with the fact that they killed a dog, possibly caused damage to their vehicle (which the dog owner could be liable for repairing), and a family is going to find their beloved pet dead.  That image will be burned in their mind’s eye forever.  This is a case where everyone loses and it is completely preventable.
2.    Humans: All dogs can look threatening to someone if they come running and barking in your direction.  A person could be injured by being bit, trying to get away, or attempting to befriend the strange dog.  The dogs could face injury by being kicked, hit with a stick, having a rock thrown at them, or sprayed with mace as the human attempts to defend themselves.  The dog owner could likely face a lawsuit.
3.    Other dogs: The chances are your dog is not alone wandering the streets.  This can lead to dogfights, exposure to canine diseases, and unwanted pregnancies.  If your dog confronts someone walking their dog then you double the trouble.  This can lead to costly vet bills and yes, a lawsuit.  We are a litigation nation!

That’s three strikes, are you still going to let your dog out?

* Most cities have leash laws and if Animal Control picks up your dog, you will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back.  That is, if you find out they have been taken to the Animal Control facility before they are euthanized.  Due to space limitations, there is a time limit on your dog’s life after being picked up as a stray. 
There are people who cruise around looking for strays to use in training for dog fighting.  If one of these ruthless souls snatches your fur baby, you can forget ever seeing them again.  Your sweet dog will meet a brutal death because you felt bad about keeping them inside a fence or didn’t take the time to snap on a leash to take them outside.  What about all of the psychos out there who get their kicks out of hurting animals?  You see it on the news all of the time.  There are bad people out there in the world and it is your responsibility to keep your dog safe.
I know you are reading this and saying, “That would never happen where I live.  My neighbors all know my dog and they know how sweet he/she is, it’ll be okay.”  That is fine, but even the kindest neighbor doesn’t want your dog leaving poop in their yard.  We all know the grass is always greener in someone else’s yard and that is where your dog wants to leave their mark.  Don’t let your best friend turn a good neighbor into an enemy.
I’m sure the last thing on your mind when you open the door and let your dog run around is that they might not come home.  The reality is they may not.  All it takes is one distracted driver, one angry neighbor, or one cruel human.  The question you need to ask yourself is whether it’s worth the risk.  If you love your dog, then the answer is obvious.  Grab a leash and take them out to do their business or go for a walk.  It is a responsibility that comes with having a dog in your life.  When you think about, it is not too much to ask for all they give you in return…unconditional love.  They would give their life to protect you and they trust you to protect them.
The next time the question is asked, “Who let the dogs out?” it’s my hope the answer will be “nobody.”
   Are your dogs inside and taken out on a leash, or are they in a fenced yard?

15 comments :

  1. leash only here! We live in an apt/condo complex and all dogs must be on-leash, you would be surprised at how many do NOT honor that though.

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    1. Thanks for commenting on this Caren. It is so dangerous in a neighborhood and apartment/condos because of the traffic flow. I would be devastated if I ever hit a dog or cat so I drive like Grandma Moses anticipating one darting out in the street. We all have fenced back yards too so there is no excuse. GRRRR! : )

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  2. Here we are on the leash or in a fenced area. When we lived in Germany it was a bit different. We lived in a rural area with lots of woods or on the North Sea coast with miles of beach and swampland where all the dogs ran free and played and had a great time. That was different as there wasn't much danger. Sometimes Mom wants to let us loose but then she thinks for a second that she is responsible for us and the pleasure of running free for a few minutes would never be worth us being hit by a car or kidnapped or who knows what. She loves us too much to set us free. We can't complain as we get walked a couple hours a day, go places to walk in the car, do fun activities, visit other humans, but don't let pets run free these days, you are right!

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    1. Emma, you are way too cute to be off-leash! Someone would take you home in a New York minute. Mom is great to take you out to exercise and play so often. I am glad that you stay close by her on your leash. Good Girl! <3

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  3. The laws here are they always have to be on a leash. Even if there were no laws about that though.....I think people who let their dogs roam around the city are very irresponsible pet owners!
    You are very right, to many things can happen and harm can and will eventually come to that poor dog. So yep, that is my opinion as well. Keep them leashed up, or in a fenced yard for sure!
    ((husky hugz))

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    1. Thanks Jenna, It is playing Russian Roulette with you best friend when you let them roam. It only takes a split second to lead to a lifetime of heartbreak.

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  4. Thanks for writing about this - good points. I sometimes feel guilty not letting my guys off leash more, but the alternatives of losing them or them hurting someone or being hurt by someone takes over and they stay leashed up.

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    1. That's so true. My post touches on some of the same points you highlighted about dogs biting even though you have a "Beware" sign. People love to sue each other.

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  5. A very good post! We shared your link on facebook.

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  6. Amen to all of it, I could not agree more. We have a very large fenced in yard. Having multiple dogs I would not do it any other way. If we are walking, they are on leash. Way back when we had our first dog (before the fenced in yard) and were ignorant we used to let her roam free. We were sure that she stayed right in our yard, until we got a visit from our neighbor telling us she had been crossing the street and chasing the other neighbor's horse. Lesson learned.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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  7. I think most people believe their pup will hang around the house. You're proof the temptations are all around outside the yard. Thanks for sharing your story. : )

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  8. Great post. I live in the county so I just send them outside but I do have to pay attention as we do have cars come down the roads. It's not that busy but still stuff can happen.

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    1. Country living is safer, especially if you have land for the dogs to explore. We are in a neighborhood so it is out of the question for ours to be out. We let them out in the fenced backyard but we have way too much traffic plus walkers and joggers. Thanks for your comments!

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  9. Haha- now I have that darn song stuck in my head!
    We live in a townhome (hopefully that will change very soon!) but we always go outside with the dogs on a leash. While I wish at times we had the property to let the dogs just run freely in a big yard, we don't. And as you mentioned, there are several factors we can't control.

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