Neighbourhood Dogs: What’s The Harm…Right?

Since Oliver and I moved from the big city of Vancouver to our small, country-fabulous home in the Kootenays, I’ve noticed a growing trend that has probably been accepted for ages, but is really starting to irritate me. Neighbourhood dogs. Ever experience them? Basically, neighbourhood dogs are dogs with homes that are allowed to roam the areas surrounding their homes.

My neighbour, who lives 2 doors down, has a older lab mix whom is constantly out walking the “hood”. This dog looks slightly senile to me, pretty confused, walks out in traffic, etc. He is always wandering (confusedly) on the sidewalk, or a few blocks down. And they let him out of their unfenced yard (which is right on the corner of a busy street) fully knowing how easy it would be for him to get lost or worse, get hit by a vehicle.

A month ago another incident happened, someone’s dog came bolting out of their yard, snarling, and acting aggressively as he ran towards my small dog. Panicked, I picked Oliver up and held him to my chest to shield him from a bite I was sure was to occur. Luckily, the owner realized and came bolting after her dog.

Then today, while driving along the highway (80 km/hr), I came around a corner and nearly smacked a white bull terrier walking down the centre line. He had a red collar on so he must have a home and then he slowly decided to walk up the next street which he seemed to know well; Hopefully, he walked back home.

The dangers surrounding this neighbourhood phenomenon are insane. There are the obvious dangers: attacking people, or sadly, being attacked; being hit by a vehicle; causing a vehicle to diverge and get into an accident; and getting lost. But what about some other dangers? We know there are some sick people in this world, people who poison, beat, steal, or injure animals just for the hell of it. What about the dangers from exploring strange areas– falling into wells; ingesting garbage which can contain household poisons (xylitol, cleaners, etc); getting tied up to something/stuck to an object; or dehydration/starvation.

Your dog may be the friendliest dog on the planet, your neighbours may love his visits, but if that is the case they’ll ask to visit your pet. There is no reason why your dog needs to be roaming the streets. I’m not even going to mention how this irresponsibility reflects on owners constantly trying to fight prejudices against pet owners because frankly it’s obvious. Fence your yards, or leash your pets, I don’t care, but keep them at home!


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