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In my city there is a leash law that is pretty much completely ignored by the majority of dog owners. I live in an urban area by a small park where many dogs frequent. There is also an empty lot where neighbors gather and talk and let their unleashed dogs play. It has become an unofficial off leash dog park to them, even more than the park.

There are at least 5-10 dogs that go there almost every day. Most of the dogs are completely worked up from playing and uncontrollable, completely ignoring commands from their owners. Every time I walk my dog I must pass this lot and people's dogs come charging at mine. She is rather submissive towards dogs and it scares the crap out of her. One time I let the dogs come into contact with her, instead of picking her up like I usually do, and they tried to dominate her by standing over her and growling/biting her. She is a 5 month old small-medium breed puppy and I know this is horrible socialization for her to experience and definitely not helping her be more confident around dogs.

At this point, because of these things, I rarely can my dog on walks. I have tried talking to one of the owners about the leash law, and got a "Well if you don't like it call the police then!" I have tried contacting animal control and they told me to do anything they would need the names and addresses of the people involved. I do not know them, nor is there any way for me to get them besides asking- and I really doubt they will gladly tell me.

I carry mace for personal protection, and if theres ever a really aggressive dog, I guess I'd be forced to use it on them. I've come into contact with probably over 20 off leash dogs in the 6 months I've lived here, some of them aggressive but nothing I couldn't deal with/would feel comfortable macing (mostly small dogs).

I'm really at my wit's end. I live in an apartment complex across the street from this lot, and I think the dog owners live in some condos down the street. It seems like people in this city cater to irresponsible dog owners, and those of us that try to actually follow the rules get the bad end of the deal. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
 

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Honestly, pretty sure I'd drop the leash in that case. Unless you think your dog will attack another dog.

The response from animal control is surprising. They don't pick up stray dogs unless somebody identifies the owner? That don't sound right to me.
 

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My dog simply isn't large enough or confident enough to defend herself. If I had a pit bull or a rottie it might be a different story.

I emailed animal control, and provided the location it was happening at, and as many details as I could. The response I got was (word for word): Please supply the address of the owners who allow their animals to roam off leash. When I emailed back saying I couldn't, I didn't get a response. :(
 

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My dog simply isn't large enough or confident enough to defend herself. If I had a pit bull or a rottie it might be a different story.

I emailed animal control, and provided the location it was happening at, and as many details as I could. The response I got was (word for word): Please supply the address of the owners who allow their animals to roam off leash. When I emailed back saying I couldn't, I didn't get a response. :(
Unless the other dogs are aggressive (which is unlikely since they all seem to be getting along), your dog won't need to defend herself. Just cause they rush you doesn't mean they want to hurt you. A leashed dog is a different dog unleashed. Still, don't do it unless you feel comfortable with it. Either way, understand that if you are nervous or afraid, your dog will know it, and will be nervous or afraid herself, because she trusts your judgement. Dogs always know how we feel because of their super powers of observation. If you are confident, she might still be nervous but, it'll help her out a lot.

Your animal control dept. is really a disappointment. If you carry your cell on your walks, call 'em and say there are several strays harrassing you right now, see if that lights a fire under 'em.
 

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Unless the other dogs are aggressive (which is unlikely since they all seem to be getting along), your dog won't need to defend herself. Just cause they rush you doesn't mean they want to hurt you. A leashed dog is a different dog unleashed. Still, don't do it unless you feel uncomfortable with it. Either way, understand that if you are nervous or afraid, your dog will know it, and will be nervous or afraid herself, because she trusts your judgement. Dogs always know how we feel because of their super powers of observation. If you are confident, she might still be nervous but, it'll help her out a lot.

Your animal control dept. is really a disappointment. If you carry your cell on your walks, call 'em and say there are several strays harrassing you right now, see if that lights a fire under 'em.
My dog does need to defend herself. They aren't aggressive towards each other but run up to my dog and I and stand over her, biting, growling, overwhelming her, etc. Its not full fledged aggression. I'm not really afraid for her life, but shes uncomfortable with it. It scares her. She pees and yelps. I have the right to walk my dog down the street without this happening. I am weary and pissed off, but not afraid of off leash dogs.

I do agree with you about the emotions though. I know my dog knows when I tense up when I see an off leash dog, but I can't help it. Its a stressful situation.

I may try doing that with animal control next time.
 

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Get a big walking stick or cattle prod to carry with you on your walks and use them if need be and let the owners know it is their fault for not obeying the law that you had to use it in self defense. It is arseholes like that that ruin it for everyone and make it so cities ban dogs in public places.
 

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Please don't think I'm disputing your word or pushing my idea -- I totally understand. I just wanted to explain the significance of the leash. It puts her at a disadvantage; a leashed dog in the presence of unleashed dogs is weak (psychologically weak), which makes her the target of their harassment. I don't understand it, but I've seen it in action plenty times. It's normal for the dogs, but the other owners are dead wrong for allowing them to bully her like that. Of course we know those guys are outlaws anyway.

The big stick is a pretty good idea. There's a lady in my neighborhood carries a golf club, looks like about a 3-iron. I always tell my (barking) dogs, "hey, we don't bark at ladies with golf clubs." I mean it as a joke, but she never cracks a smile.
 

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Get a big walking stick or cattle prod to carry with you on your walks and use them if need be and let the owners know it is their fault for not obeying the law that you had to use it in self defense. It is arseholes like that that ruin it for everyone and make it so cities ban dogs in public places.
Yep I totally agree with this post, it's a never ending frustration for me as I imagine it is for many ppl who are responsible pet owners who work hard to make their dogs as good as they can be ... They are animals after all.

Oh & I also second the cattle prod (i had a short one, it was easy to carry & use if needed).
 

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My dog does need to defend herself. They aren't aggressive towards each other but run up to my dog and I and stand over her, biting, growling, overwhelming her, etc. Its not full fledged aggression.
Full fledged or not, running up, biting, growling and overwhelming....I'd call that aggression. The only circumstance I would be ok with that is if both dogs are obviously playing and ok with it! Whenever Caeda gets to be too riled up I step in and handle her and remove her from the situation, its my responsibility as an owner! Whether what these other dogs are doing really is meant as aggressive or not, if it is making your dog fearful, then she probably FEELS like it is aggressive, and therefore should be treated just as seriously. You might want to be careful if you do a cattle prod or something....other owners might get riled up and make you look like the bad guy.

I've got a similar situation, but it isn't at a park, it is where we live, our entire area is an off-leash dog park apparently. All I can suggest to you is to try another park if it is possible. If it isn't, or is too inconvenient I completely agree with what others have been saying....be a squeaky wheel, go over these people's heads to their bosses and try to get results. Another option is if your local paper takes letters to the editor. A compelling letter explaining the potential hazards of having a park that is not distinctly designated as off leash, AND explaining the apathy of the local "authorities" might work....although owners might keep the leashes off so their hands are free to throw rotten fruit if it really annoys them.

Good luck, I realize how annoying it is to be harassed by off-leash dogs (and accosted by their owners if you ask for some respect) when you're trying to be responsible and keep your dog happy and safe. I hope you get some results!
 
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