There’s a leash law in San Mateo County.
When out in public, your dog needs to be leashed and under your control unless you’re in a designated off-leash dog park.
Some people have trouble with the first part of this. I see people running with dogs, sans leash, and people walking on busy streets with unleashed dogs.
For many of them, it comes down to this: they don’t want to bother because their dog minds them, or they think it’s pretty cool to be that guy – the guy who can show everyone else that his dog is so well-behaved, he doesn’t need a leash.
Don’t be that guy.
Taking a chance like that with your loved dog is about as cool as wearing sunglasses inside. Jack Nicholson gets away with it; the rest of us look like jack_ _ _ _ _.
Of course, dogs should have time to be off-leash, even though a long, brisk walk on-leash is underrated. But, their leash-free time should be in a place that’s also free of hazards. All it takes is that one time for a so-called "voice-controlled" dog to encounter something that tests this control, like a cat, squirrel or skateboarder.
Our Humane Society officers are responsible for enforcing the leash law and for responding to calls for loose or stray dogs, and dogs hit by cars.
I can’t stand the sight of an injured animal. I’m the guy in the movie theater who’s thinking “don’t hurt the dog!” to the burglar or bad guy on screen.
But, for our officers, seeing injured animals is a daily occurrence. When they stop someone disregarding the leash law, it’s for good reason. Generally, they won’t issue a citation. But, a repeat offender or nasty person can change that.
For the most part, we subscribe to the “get more flies with honey” adage. Our officers see themselves more as educators than enforcers, because they firmly believe that this is the best approach to ensure animals’ safety and the public’s safety.
In my opening, I said some people have trouble with the first part of the leash law - the being on-leash part. There’s also the “under your control” part.
I’m going to ruffle feathers, but here goes. Let’s make flexi-leads illegal.
Granted, some people use them responsibly and tighten up the slack when they are in heavily trafficked areas. Other people are clueless, and let their dog spool out 15-20 feet ahead or to the side. If this dog bites someone, or causes someone to fall off a bike, witnesses would say the owner clearly did not have his/her dog under control and the owner would be responsible, even though his/her dog was on-leash.
Absolute worst case: a dog allowed to walk with his owner off-leash runs into the street, is struck and killed by a motorist, who swerves to avoid the dog and hits something or someone else. The dog owner loses his dog and is responsible for all damages caused by the driver.
I can’t end with that awful scenario. Here’s something much better.
If you enjoy walking your dog on leash and want to help the Peninsula Humane Society provide much-deserved second chances for stray or unwanted animals who arrive at the shelter with medical or behavioral conditions, sign up for our August 18th "Mutt Strutt" dog walk-a-thon. Visit http://www.phs-spca.org/ for more information.
It’s $26 to register. We also kindly ask that you collect donations from friends in support of you, your dog and the cause: our shelter’s good work. All funds raised benefit our Hope Program, which enables us to make these animals well and then place them into new loving homes.
Currently, we meet about 200 animals every month, and the medical cases are often the easy ones. Broken spirits are much harder to fix than broken bones.
If all registrants collect $10 from 10 friends, we’ll have our most successful Mutt Strutt by a mile. And, you don’t need a mutt to strut - folks can take the meandering 3k stroll through pristine trails in Coyote Point Park without a dog.
And you guys, of course, don’t need a leash. Would be kinda weird if you had one.