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LETTER: If you love your dog, leash it

Reader says two of the dogs they've fostered have been attacked by unleashed dogs in separate incidents
2022-01-10 computer stock

If you fail to leash your dog when you're walking it, this letter is directed at you. Dogs are animals, animals can be erratic, and that's why the Timmins bylaws require you to leash your dog.

My spouse and I moved to Timmins in August, and we have fostered two dogs in that time. Each dog has been attacked on Timmins streets by another dog (two different dogs), not on leashes. It has happened to both my husband and I separately, and because it was with two different foster dogs of ours, two different attacking dogs of different breeds, and two different humans from our family, in two different seasons. I'm confident that the problem isn't us. 

Both of the attacking dog owners said, "He's not usually like that."

Your words include the problem: He is like 'that' sometimes (even if not usually). Your attitude is leading to blindness about your dog's behaviour. Your dog is like 'that' sometimes, so put it on a leash when you go for a walk, as per city bylaws.

So far neither of our foster dogs has experienced an injury but we're trying to rehabilitate them, so your dog's violence is not helping us to get these foster dogs settled for re-homing.

According to the Ontario Dog Owners' Liability Act, if your dog injures my dog or me and it goes through the courts, the consequences that a judge can impose may be severe. Your dog can be forcefully spayed/neutered at your expense, or your dog can be taken and you can be banned from having a dog for a period of time, and your dog can even be destroyed (euthanized) — and you'll get a bill for that too. 

If you actually care about your dog, leash it (and hold the leash) when you go for a walk. It's not about your dog's freedom, and it's about your dog's safety. It's not about our convenience, it's about our responsibility as dog owners to protect our dogs. If you can't be bothered to use the easiest way to keep your dog safe from cars, coyotes, and other dogs — which is also required by city bylaws anyway — then maybe you shouldn't have a dog at all. 

Jen Davies,