When Basset Hounds Attack (or, On Being a Responsible Pet Owner)

"Oh, don't worry... he's friendly!" I hear those words shouted at me often enough by well-meaning doggie parents, as their precious 50-pound pups come bounding toward me and the dog I've been hired to walk and care for that day. And, while that may be all well and true—perhaps your dog has been through multiple obedience classes, can stop on a dime at his parent's command, or may be the "sweetest dog in the whole wide world"—you should understand that the dog currently attached to the end of my leash may not feel the same. Many years ago, while I was walking my two small chihuahuas—Sonja and Lucy—a very large, leashless, and ownerless dog appeared out of nowhere. I saw it look at me and my pups... and then it charged. I felt helpless. I couldn't even react fast enough to pick them up to get them out of harm's way. Instead, I just placed myself between them and the attacking dog, kicking and screaming and swinging my arms (and my two little pups) propeller-like around my head while trying to make sure they didn't end up this dog's dinner! Finally, the dog's owner came rushing around the corner. He apologized profusely, grabbed his dog by the neck, and ran away—just as quickly as he had appeared—leaving me and the pups shaken and scared as we stumbled our way back home. You can never 100% predict how your dog will react in a new situation, and you absolutely cannot predict how others' dogs will react. Therefore, as a responsible dog owner, and out of consideration for others, remember that all dogs must be leashed at all times while on public property and in parks (except in designated off-leash areas). Here in Multnomah County, it's even the law! My little chihuahuas never recuperated from the traumatic event that I now infamously and repeatedly refer to as the "failed helicopter rescue" dog attack of 2001. Had I the wherewithal to react more quickly, I would have called Animal Control to report the incident. I'm sure it wasn't the first time that dog had attacked others, but maybe I could have helped prevent any future attacks. And what about those "well-meaning" dog owners who let their dogs frolic, unleashed, while I'm out walking dogs I currently care for? I VERY firmly, but oh-so politely, remind them of Multnomah County Animal Control Ordinance 13.305. I also carry an animal deterrent spray... just in case. Remember, being a responsible pet owner means being responsible for YOUR pet, as well as the safety of others around your pet. If you notice an issue at a Portland park, call the bureau's ranger hotline at 503-823-1637. To learn more about Portland Parks & Recreation's Dogs & Off-Leash Programs, as well as where to find designated off-leash areas to take your dog, visit portlandoregon.gov/parks/dogs.

#leashlaws #dogparks #PPampR #ownershipampresponsibility

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