I am not sure whether some dog owners are confused, don’t give a toss or don’t have any common sense or manners, when it comes to walking their off leash dog, in public areas.
Whether its a dog park, beach, reserve or park if these places are open to the public, by public I mean everyone, off leash dogs must be kept under control, just because the sign says OFF LEASH doesn’t give dog owners the right, to let their dog wander around and annoy other people or dogs.
Dogs off leash, must be kept under continuous control at all times as per the Dog Control Act. Common sense and manners is called for here, if you see your dog wandering off or annoying someone else, call it back and leash your dog or better yet, leash your dog beforehand. As an owner of a off leash dog you are liable for anything your dog does, as it is your responsibility to keep your dog under control.
If your dog does run off and won’t come back, don’t just stand there calling it, put one foot in front of the other and go and get your dog. Don’t just stand and watch while some other person has to deal with your dog, like I had to do yesterday.
The lady in question just stood there calling her dog, which had no intentions of going back to her, I asked her to put it on a lead, she said she would, if it came back to her. Not quite sure of the logic there, still trying to work that one out. Then she said the signs says “Off Leash” I said yes it does but this is a public park and your dog must be kept under control.
So it seems to me, she was clearly confused, so maybe its time the councils added some more information to their “OFF LEASH” signs, such as “Dogs must be kept under continuous control at all times” By doing that, they may lessen the confusion.
Unfortunately, the above incident isn’t an isolated event, it seems to be happening more and more and It does make me wonder, if an off leash dog did cause a problem for someone else, how many dog owners would stand up and take responsibility for their dogs actions. (keeping in mind its not the dogs fault) or would they just grab their dog and disappear. Below are links to more relevant articles.
Dog off leash but not under control & When is a dog park not a dog park, when its a public park or reserve
Dogs, Wildlife & Human Complacency