Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2004

Letter to the Editor

December 23, 2004

To the editor:

Recently, I've been working from home. I treasure these days as I get to be in my house, with my dogs and work. Lately, however, it's been a trying experience. In the matter of a day, I've had to calm my dogs down four times because strange dogs have approached the house, walked on our porch or wandered into our yard. The fact that I had to calm them down isn't a big deal. The fact that these dogs are loose is a big deal.

These dogs are out running around, wandering in the streets, "christening" flowers and bushes that really don't need "christening" and walking through yards and onto porches. When we corral these dogs (in the unfortunate event that they're digging in our yard or chasing cats under our porch), we often find that they have no tags or registration, so we guess at the ownership.

When I did the responsible thing and called the owners, I expected that they'd be concerned that their animals were loose. I was mistaken.

The responses I got ranged from "yes, I just let him out" and "that's how he gets exercise" to "he bolts when I open the door."

Maybe I've elevated the dogs in my family to a place higher than others, but I have a few guidelines that I follow:

1. There is a law in Baldwin City to register your pet and to keep them tagged. So my dogs are tagged.

2. It's against the law in Baldwin City to allow your dog to roam free. So I built a fence around a yard and if I can't take the time to walk them, I go out and play with them in the yard.

3. I'm a human bi-ped with opposable thumbs and as such am stronger and more adept with doors and gates than most dogs. I haven't met a dog yet that I can't contain given enough time. If they jump the fence, we secure it or don't let them out unattended. If they bolt at the door, we make sure that we watch where they are when we open it.

4. I've committed to ensuring the health and safety of my dogs when I adopted or purchased them. Letting them out to run around freely is an open invitation for them to lick up antifreeze (which will kill them), get in a fight with another dog (which might kill them), allow them to eat dead animals off the road (which might kill them or at least make them sick) or get in a tussle with a motor vehicle (which most likely would kill them). Given the options, letting an animal roam free is dangerous and

irresponsible.

Maybe I'm a bit too ... passionate about animal rights and how they're cared for, but I just think that they deserve better than it seems some in Baldwin want to give them. I shudder when I see animals chained outside on a 22 degree day -- I consider that abuse. I don't understand why people don't actively care for the dogs they own. If you're worried about your animal getting exercise, take them for a walk. If they bolt, watch the door. Besides their health and safety, I shouldn't have to chase them off my lawn or my porch or replace my bushes because they decided to mark my yard as their stomping grounds. It's a courtesy to your neighbors and most importantly, your duty to your pet to be a responsible dog owner.

Annie France

Baldwin City

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