Thursday , August 07, 2014 - 1:26 PM
I’m writing concerning the letter of Aug. 2, “Dogs should be left home.“ I thank her for opening this topic and I agree that owners who let their dogs run at large or don’t clean up after them are a problem. It reflects poorly on every dog owner and is unfair to those of us who are diligent about that. Health codes prohibit animals in public where food is sold, served or consume (grocery stores, restaurants); exceptions are service dogs or restaurants with permits for outdoor eating. There is no way to identify a service dog just by looking; vests are not required or controlled. I’m sorry this writer has an irrational fear of dogs, although dogs should not be allowed to run up to anyone without their consent.
Dogs in other public/retail places is another matter (playgrounds, hardware stores, etc.). Many are trained for purposes other than service, such as therapy, search and rescue, agility, obedience, and many contribute amazing services for humans. These dogs usually wear no identification either. We who have dogs in these categories are so grateful for public places where we can socialize them and introduce varied sounds, smells, distractions and situations. More dogs fit into these categories than people might imagine. The fact that we can work with our dogs while shopping is a win-win situation. Also, when coming home from a dog activity, it is convenient to shop in a dog-friendly business rather than running the dog home and returning because dogs should not be left in a car. As to whether they enjoy shopping, it is my experience that most dogs want to be with their human, no matter where they are. They are intelligent animals that need mental stimulation as well as physical activity to be healthy.
Personally, I see no reason why a clean, well- behaved dog with a responsible owner shouldn’t be allowed in most public places and don’t understand how just seeing one is a problem.
For many of us, the bond we have with our dogs is something very special and we love to have them with us. I’m sorry that the letter writer hasn’t experienced that joy and companionship.
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