Friday, October 7, 2011

"Hit by Car" Trauma (Dogs off Leashes)

As a dog owner living in condo community for past 10 years, we have seen and heard countless stories of dogs that were spooked by a sudden loud noise and ran off never to be found, or knee-jerk reaction to chase a squirrel, or getting hit by a car in the process of any of the above.  IT HAPPENS.  At the Riverfront condos we see many dog owners let their pets off leashes in the dog field. Now this "dog field" is just that --a field bordered by three inroads. There is no fence.  While dogs run and play fetch in the interior closer to one fence, is one thing. But countless pet owners have their dogs off leashes on the edge of the field, inches from the road with speed demons blazing by. Some of us have warned these pet owners that accidents do happen. That anything can startle the dog and cause them to run suddenly--into an oncoming car-- no matter how well trained. 

Most dog owners think their dogs are well trained. Most are delusional or ill informed.  There was already one incident of a dog running away spooked by a noise, only to be found later dead, struck by a car. In another horrific incident, a resident at the Wind had a large dog on a leash. The dog saw one of the neighborhood cats (his name was Mr. Big) in the bushes. These cats do not provoke. The dog snapped and aggressively attacked the cat. Witnesses shared how the owner could not control the dog WHILE on the leash! It weighed more than her! The dog viciously attacked the cat and left it in bloody pieces. Neighbors immediately contacted  the condo manager expressing outrage and insisted the dog wear a muzzle thereon. Residents feared the dog could attack their dog or children or even adults.

The developer promised a "dog park" signifying a fence. This would be the proper action. But nothing has been done. The developer and partner companies have invested millions of dollars in aesthetics to sell condos. Safety is still lagging. Per Florida Law and Condo rules and regulations, dogs must be on a leash. Neither is being enforced. An accident is waiting to happen.

We follow several pet blogs written by highly regarded veterinarians. The following : "Avoiding the Hit by Car Trauma" by Dr. Justine Lee. We encourage all dog owners to read this carefully. You love your dog. Be a responsible pet owner and take your dog  to a dog park with a fence to run freely.

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