Sheesh, Get a Leash!

No one is immune to this law - and all it takes is one bad incident.


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.

Avery Allen July 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Thank you, Scott Delucchi, for this article. I ride the Coastside Trail on my bike and was down by the area of Seymore Bridge at the end of the trail when two dogs running off leash ran into me full speed. I was knocked off and landed on my back, hip, and head. Yes, the owner was very sorry, but she would have paid dearly if I had been severely hurt. The sad part is that the people who will not put their dogs on leash send the message to other dog owners that it is ok to not leash their dogs. It is safer for dogs and for people when dogs are leashed. And it is the law!
Cheryl Dickinson July 30, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Hum ban Flexi Leashes, good luck with that! Let's ban safe and sane fireworks too! I'd give up my Flexi Leash for the Firework Ban! People acting poorly or uneducated about proper dog care or respect for other humans is what is ruining it for most of us that do take proper care of our dogs, waste and play time. I am all for the leash law, sorry for everyones bad experiance with dogs around town. Some people need to be educated about proper dog care. Not all Flexi leashes are bad. It is people not paying attention. It also happens with human kids, parents not paying attention. Not all parents are like that! I am off to see the good in all:)
Cheryl Dickinson July 30, 2012 at 07:40 PM
:) kids are kids
Sarah Silverman August 15, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Hey, I'm a bit out of your area but wonder if anyone is following up on the fate of the dog that belongs to the woman arrested for stabbing the guy in the lot behind Safeway. All articles mention that she was living In a van with her dog. In most cases of arrest the vehicle is impounded...often resulting in the owner not being able to retrieve it due to impound costs. But worse yet, what about her dog? Can someone in HMB follow up on this, or perhaps your heroes have already done so!!! Thanks!!!!
michelle jacob March 18, 2013 at 01:33 AM
There should be no problem with having your dog off leash in an open space, like a field or large area at the beach with no one around to distract you or the dog. However it is courteous to put your dog on its leash and it a lie down position when others walk by with or without a dog that look uneasy. I have a white boxer, which is easily mistaken for a pitt bull or american bulldog and he loves to socialize, but only when the feeling is mutual with the other animal and owner. My large breed dog has been attacked or ran up on by a small dog and bit in the face or on the legs plenty of times. Animals are creatures of habbit and are scared just as much as their owners are. The more relaxed at at ease you are around your pet and re-assure them that they are alright, the better we will all be. People need to get a grip on reality. It is a BIG world and there are TONS of people with pets out there...just be courteous and respectful, do not be a jerk and act like a victim. Small dogs are just as dangerous as large dogs as well as being intimidated...it has nothing to do with the animals size, but it has everything to do with the animals intent.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »