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[RC] Loose dogs - Heather Bonneau

I'll de-lurk momentarily to comment on the loose dog thread. If there is a dog that continuously bothers you and you know who the owner is DO NOT tolerate it! If your area has a leash law, be sure and report the violation. For years, I quietly tolerated a neighbor's loose dogs. My horses had all been trained to go by them quietly, so I never bothered reporting it. Recently, my young horse was badly startled by this dog while being trained to drive. It has taken weeks to get him back to where he was (an additional $400 in training, and over $100 in damages to the cart). This horse had NEVER been afraid of this dog before, but it caught him by surprise and he bolted, cart and all. The owners have tried to deny it, and have been very rude. They once tried to tell me to call them when I wanted to ride so they could bring the dog in. Well excuse me, but there is a leash law, and it is a public road, I shouldn't have to call anyone before I ride. The local animal control officer has given them repeated warnings, and over the years they have been in court numerous times because of the dogs. The problem is, everyone gets tired of constantly filing reports and then they ignore the problem. Eventualy things escalated to the point of my pony being attacked. If we hadn't ignored the problem, things might have turned out differently. Now, I report them every time the dog comes into the road. If I refuse to back down, they will have to change their ways (and they are getting better)  Don't let this happen to you! By all means, train your horses to go by dogs quietly, but don't let irresponsible dog owners create a hazard for you. Any horse, no matter how well trained, can be caught off guard.  Owner a dog is a responsibility, and no dog owner has the right to put you in danger by not controlling their dog. Most people are very reasonable when I tell them there is a leash law and I will report them if there are further problems, but some just don't care. I worry what might happen now that their are many young children in my neighborhood. I would hate to see them attacked. If my reporting a loose dog might save them, it is worth it.  Take a stand against the owners, not just the dog!
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