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Citizen complaint of the day: The free-range dogs of Ronan Park

A concerned citizen asks:

Dogs are off-leash in Ronan Park consistently. Most are friendly, but some are not. My dog doesn't get along with other dogs. So, I keep him on-leash at all times, but off-leash dogs (friendly or otherwise) charge him. This provokes fights. Can there be better enforcement of leash laws here?

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I haven't been there but according to the Friends of Ronan Park website, dogs are permitted off-leash. Are you talking about outside the fenced area?
I hear you though. I don't mind off-leash dogs if they are 100% under voice control, but it's difficult to train my dog on leash with other dogs bounding up. I don't take him to off-leash parks, though.

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The dog park portion is fenced off and off leash is permitted. The playing fields, walking path, and kids playground are not and there have been problems with off leash dogs, true. FoRP has asked for better enforcement, unfortunately the laws don't really have teeth (sorry) to get ISD & Animal Control involved until something goes wrong.

If confronted with an aggressive animal, get yourself and your pet to safety first, then use 911 and/or 311 to report, and if safe to do so try to get a picture and description. Repeat offenders who have been reported are eventually punished.

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I was confronted with an off leash dog in Dorchester park, more concerning was the dogs owner who threatened me with his dog when I told him about the leash law. I called 911 and officer friendly did not even give owner a ticket. Don't bother calling them, the city is zoo because nobody in civic government or city employment can be bothered with the law or the taxpayer.

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Dogs off leash are a problem in several Boston locations. The off leash dog problems at the Arboretum, for example, has been the subject of several conversations here on Uhub.

But dog owners with leashed dogs are also a problem. Some of them seem to think it's ok for their dog to approach another person and start licking, sniffing and rubbing. Several times I've heard, "It's ok. He/she/it is friendly".

But it's not ok. As I told a woman last week on the Boston Common, after she told me "it's ok", "What the fuck. It's not ok. Keep your god damn dog away from me" . Where do these idiots get the idea that it's ok for their animal to approach me and start licking me?

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I have to take exception to your lumping all dog owners into one (doggie) pile.

You won't believe me because you don't know me and my pup nor do you know my dog owning friends, but we keep our dogs under control and when they're too hyped up for a situation, we take them out of it all together.

I do agree with you that there are some dog owners that have no concept of what it means to be a good neighbor/dog owner - I ran into them myself on many walks and off-leash parks. However there are those who know how to play well with others.

And yes, I am defensive because I work my butt off making certain I and my dog are good citizens and I resent others effing that up.

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Not all bikers, drivers, and dog owners are mass holes. of course you don't notice the responsible ones of us, just the bad apples, bUT hey it's a blog & you're upset so go vent. ..

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I do know what you mean about people letting their dogs hassle strangers.
But (unleashed) people can be a problem for those of us walking leashed dogs as well. Some of them seem to think it's OK to approach another person's leashed dog and start cooing at and petting them. They too say "It's OK," as if it's all up them. I've even had people on the sidewalk try to feed my dog "treats" without asking first. Not OK!

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I know someone who deliberately wore a shirt declaring "No - do not approach my dog. No I will not be held liable should you get bit." And she was vocal in telling people not to approach her dog. The dog was fine and a good citizen if ignored by the general public.

When my dogs were younger (and one was still alive), I had children (little girls) literally sprint across the field screeching "Pupppppiiiiiieeeeeeesssssss!" in that high pitch only little ones are capable of. I reigned in my two, tried to put myself between them and the little girls and yelled "No, Stop!" and the little girls. Of course this hyperactivity got my dogs riled up, but once I was able to calm the situation down, I convinced the girls to approach slowly and let the dogs decide if they were interested. It's a hard lesson for little ones to learn.

Sometimes I simplified things by telling unleashed humans "Yes, they bite," and left it at that.

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They're all terrible.

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As a dog owner myself I am aware that not everyone likes dog and so I do all I can to prevent my dog from just up and going to people, touching them or even licking them. There are some of us around that do recognize that this is an annoying owner problem.

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So, I'm curious -- how is it that you can't simply prevent this, not just "do all you can" to prevent it? Should your dog not be under your control?

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As someone who doesn't have a dog nor particularly like dogs, leash laws are dumb. Dogs need to move around too. As long as they aren't aggressive, they should be allowed to run free. This person thinks all dogs should be punished because they haven't properly trained their's.

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And really, really want to like dog owners, but if you cannot control a dog and cannot find the proper place to exercise your dog where they will not be menacing both humans and other dogs, don't get a dog. Yes, all dog owners who cannot properly train their dogs should be punished. The dogs don't pay the fines. They don't get punished. Bad dog owners (and I am also thinking about owners who leave their pets' shit all over the place) should be punished and punished severely.

Leash laws exist because without them, some dog owners would be worse neighbors than they are now, which is saying a lot.

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As long as they aren't aggressive, they should be allowed to run free.

This sounds good, but it doesn't work. Dogs are territorial animals -- some more than others, but all are to at least a degree. They need to sort out what is theirs and what is not theirs and where they're allowed to be and who's allowed to be there besides them. If you take them into a new environment, or into a familiar environment that contains people or animals that they don't know and haven't sorted things out with, and you just let them "move around", you're asking for trouble. To expect dogs to have the human concept of public space, and appropriate behavior for same, is a mistake.

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I like your idea about allowing the dog owners to determine whether they should be leashed. It reminds me of another topic; automobile speed limits. I am a very good driver and have never been at fault in an accident. My reflexes are still quick and my eyesight is good. The speed limit for me should be 80 MPH. Maybe people for whom the normal laws do not apply could have a special license plate so the police know not to bother us?

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I hate it when people let their dogs off leash and they come charging up to me and my leashed dog while the owner yells, "don't worry, he's friendly!!!" Well, guess what, my dog gets fear aggressive when charged, so when your dog gets bitten, don't get mad at me. I'm the one following the law.
Whenever that happens, I stick my foot out towards the other dog. If they run into it, well, too bad. No, I am not kicking your dog, I am defending myself and my dog. How do I know that your dog isn't going to snap? No dog is 100% trustworthy.
If you cannot keep your dog under voice command AT ALL TIMES, they should not be let off leash, and even then, when you see another dog approaching, you should call your dog back and put it on its leash.

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I watched Jaws the other night (great movie) and what struck out at me was a beach scene and, get this, there was a dog playing with kids on the beach and he wasn't even leashed!

The horror!. I am a child of that era and can clearly remember dogs running on beaches, streets our yards and others. Our dog also went out and came home when he/she was ready, or when we came in from playing.

Now we've gone to "call the police".

I am a responsible dog owner and see both sides to the argument. My dog is always leashed unless in her yard and if you come in the yard uninvited, you will have to deal with her.

It's an observation of how we've evolved. Some parts good and other parts not so good.

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