The Unchained Dog
There is alot of talk about keeping a dog on a chain. I do agree that all too often (even once is too much) dogs are left on these devices to live out a miserable, painful life of severe neglect.
Unfortunately, what is often not addressed is the other extreme-dogs that are NOT confined or restrained. In this debate, there seems to always be the person who points out the "well mannered" dog who "would never leave his yard". They complain about the laws that prevent this sort of thing. They, and others are the ones who truly believe that their dog never leaves their property for any reason, as if their dog was a prodigy, who understood the invisible boundary lines of peoperty ownership, knew where his lines were and was loathe to ever cross over those lines. I am not referring to those who truly have their dog under control, acknowledge that no training is 100 percent perfect and have included distractions in their extensive training. I am referring to the dog that has attended the classes taught by some big pet stores and others but do not actually have a dog that works repeatedly with his training, and has been tried in a diverse range of situations and diversions, while still required to have a high level of obedience. For these people, a leash may be a lifesaver; for the others, your dog probably does not fall under the same laws as those dogs covered here.
True, some may know that their precious pet wouldn't think about leaving their yard, while they are home,but they cannot always be home. I know many a dog who would not leave their acreage, but who wandered MILES from home only to be happily loungeing on the porch, or even returned to their fenced back yard in time to greet their owners home from work. Dogs know our routine, and the sound of our car engines coming, as well.
Then there is the dog who lies under the tree in the front yard, with his owner nearby, only to dash out barking (and worse) at a young passerby making them afraid of dogs for the rest of their life. Dogs are usually quicker than their owners. Even if Fido does listen and return, the damage has been done. Then there is the dog that bursts through the screen door to attack you, your child or your own leashed pet simply because you wanted to go for a walk and enjoy your time together. I'm sure you know these dogs; the ones with their owner frantically yelling their name from behind the dog while he easily ignores them, or worse yet, turns around to bite the owner when he makes a desperate grab for the dog who then gets mad at you as if you are the one who is illegal! These common examples are all from real life experiences. Being in the business of dogs, you get to see or hear it all. While some honestly have a dog that would not do any of these things, laws have to apply to everyone in order to make them work. A leashed dog is a small price to pay to avoid these concerns.
One Bite Laws
The days of the "one free bite" are either gone or rapidly disappearing (depending on where you live). These are the laws that used to relieve an owner of a dog who bit someone of legal responsibility if their dog had never bitten someone before. People are fed up with getting bit due to owner negligence, and rightly so. Talk to the mail man. Even groomers are beginning to sue over getting bitten.
The worse case scenario? Your dog runs into the street unexpectantly, a car swerves to miss your dog and hits a child instead. Guess who can get charged with hitting and possibly killing that child? Grim indeed.
The sad thing is that the most probable scene is the one of the dog who goes into the street and gets hit, however unexpected it may be. The dog is the one that pays for the neglect of the owner. The owner is the human and the dog trusts us to only allow him into completely safe situations.
Leash and containment laws is for EVERYONE'S protection, including the dog's. It is hearbreaking to see that "lost" poster with the picture of the beloved pet, knowing that it was possibly someone's neglect that lost the poor animal in the first place. How many times did the dog in the poster get to roam, with the owner saying, "I really need to fix that spot in the fence" only this time, he never came home? Where is our outrage at these people?