Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wake up, dog owners

Earlier this month, my dog was attacked and bitten four times by a loose bulldog in downtown Ketchum. My leashed dog, Brinx, did not return any aggression and was in control at all times. This bulldog crossed a busy street and scaled a concrete wall in his determined pursuit to aggress and bite my dog.

Minutes before the attack, I was working a 7-month-old service dog in training at the very same location. If the young dog had been bitten, he likely would have been scarred for life and unable to become a service dog.

To make matters worse, the owner of the bulldog did nothing to stop her dog's attack.

As most of the valley knows, I train service dogs for people with disabilities, and God forbid this were to happen to someone who owns a service dog. One of our local board members, Margery Friedlander, uses a service dog daily. If that attack had happened to Margery and her dog Chocko, causing Margery to fall and be injured, or Chocko had been injured, the owner of the bulldog would have been liable in a serious civil lawsuit.

Our dog-friendly community has become a cult of dog freedom, with owners thinking their dogs have God-given rights to run free. Letting a dog run off lead downtown is irresponsible and dangerous, not only to other dogs but to the unrestrained dog. The bulldog crossed a busy street to aggress and attack my dog. He could have been hit by a car.

In Ketchum, the law states that the dog must be on leash or within 10 feet of the owner and in voice control. The dog that attacked Brinx last week was neither.

Beware, irresponsible dog owners. I will no longer tolerate any loose dog that runs at or approaches one of my dogs or the service dogs I work with. I will use every means available to me within the law to stop this rampage of irresponsible dog ownership.

Fran Jewell

Executive director

Positive Partners Assistance Dogs


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