Off-leash dogs are a safety hazard for assistance dog owners – Smithers Interior News

Most dog owners are responsible pet owners who love their dog like a member of the family.

Most people are good people who follow the rules and expectations set by lawmakers and the community.

However, there are always a few who don’t pay attention to how their actions may affect others. We certainly saw evidence of this in many parts of the world during the pandemic.

When it comes to dogs, there is a local Smithers Animal Control and Licensing By-law # 1780 which specifies basic dog care standards and owner responsibilities.

Examples include the leash in public and maintaining control of the dog at all times, and the proper care of aggressive or dangerous dogs. Often times, people who do not adhere to the rules are aware of this but somehow think they have a valid reason for exemption.

Off-leash dogs can be a great example. “I know my dog ​​is supposed to be on a leash, but don’t worry, he’s friendly,” is a common refrain among offenders.

Somehow they interpret the regulations to exempt their four-legged friend.

Or, they don’t realize that as lovable as their dog may be, no one else loves them as much as they do.

Not everyone wants a strange dog to approach them. There are people who are really afraid of dogs and there are people who, unbeknownst to some, who don’t like dogs.

This is why places like Smithers Barkpark exist, where people choose to go and understand that dogs will be off leash.

The impact on assistance dogs is often overlooked in the mix. Approaching an assistance dog by an off-leash dog can be distracting and endanger the handler’s safety.

For example, Ross Levan of Smithers is visually impaired and he and his guide dog Albert have faced this situation on several occasions.

A guide dog is trained to ignore other dogs and avoid distractions, but this training is far from the dog’s natural instinct. This means that the dog needs constant reassurance and commands from the handler, who will often use the “leave it” command, asking the dog to do just that and to focus on the job at hand.

An off-leash dog is a massive and unnecessary temptation for a service dog.

Temperament doesn’t matter. Even if a guide dog is not threatened, with excitement and wanting to say hello to other dogs, it could mean guiding someone towards an obstacle, missing a sidewalk or stairwell, or making a very mistake. dangerous at an intersection.

During the pandemic, people go out with their companion dogs more to stay active.

If we are truly “all in the same boat,” remember those who cannot see and the additional challenges they face in these trying times.

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Susan W. Lloyd

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