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Keep dogs leashed for safety’s sake

September 22, 2009

To the owner of the two beautiful retrievers at Atwood Park,

You are obviously a great dog lover and care deeply for your magnificent companions. They are full of life and no doubt bring you countless hours of joy. Last week when my elderly retriever, Ginger, and I were walking on an Atwood Park trail, your dogs came out of nowhere and unintentionally ran over her before she could move out of the way. They weren’t being vicious and, I’m sure, just wanted to play. But Ginger didn’t know that. All she saw was a threat from two strange dogs that appeared to be attacking her owner. When she recovered from the initial blow, she tried to defend both of us until I was able to calm her down and lead her away, bleeding and humiliated. I know you did not intentionally set your dogs loose on us, but there are many signs at the park asking owners to leash their dogs at all times. Sometimes well-meaning dog owners think that their own dogs are so well behaved that such signs don’t apply to them, but even well-behaved dogs occasionally adversely affect other park goers and their own pets, who may not be as active nor energetic. They are just there, as you were, to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company. There should be adequate room for all to have a peaceful outdoor experience. If you want them to run free and play without the encumbrance of restraints, there are other facilities both in the city and in nearby rural areas. You just don’t know who you might be hurting and whose lives you might be disrupting when you let your dogs off the leash.

Ginger passed away a few days later from severe kidney bruising.

A Fellow Dog Lover

Scott M. Fisher

Rockford

From the September 23-29, 2009 issue

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