Dogs off the leash: Dangerous dog vs. Worried Mom

by EPI Staff on April 11, 2011

Q: Someone who frequents my park is always letting his big dog off the leash, even when my 7-year-old daughter is nearby. Can I say something?

A: Yes. That’s a downright dangerous situation, and it warrants immediate attention. To send a message that’s polite but firm, say: “My daughter was knocked down recently by another big dog. So I need to ask you to put yours on a leash. Thanks!”

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lilli April 11, 2011 at 10:17 am

I would also suggest checking your city or towns local regulations about leashes. Many cities (or individual parks) require that dogs be on a leash at all times. It’s useful information to have in your back pocket should the owner refuse when there is a regulation in place. I don’t think there is any reason to say your daughter was knocked down by another dog if she wasn’t – just simply state “Fido is a lovely dog, but also very boisterous and I would appreciate it if you would keep him on his leash for the children’s safety”. Also be sure to teach your daughter how to act around animals to minimize the chances that she’ll accidentally give the dog a reason to want to knock her over.

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Alicia April 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

There are some parks that are dog parks that are places where dogs are allowed ogff their leashes. I would double check the rules for this park if the dog is being friendly or non threatening and dogs are allowed to go leashless I would if worried perhaps make the choice of a different park .

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Frank M. Lopez April 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Dear Emily Post’s

I have a question on meeting family members for the first time after being found after many years. What would an appropriate gift be to give when meeting them for the first time?

Regards
Frank

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Graceandhonor April 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Give them all flowers, lots and lots of beautiful, joyful, happy, happy flowers. Especially if meeting in a public place like an airport. Plenty of time later to exchange photos or other gifts.

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Kiley April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Dear Frank,

I was actually adopted so went through this particular situation myself a few times in meeting my birthparents/birthfamily. I brought some cookies I’d baked as well as some photos of myself as a child. It is hard to buy a gift that is personal for someone you’ve never met, but you can’t go wrong with bringing something nice like some small treats or flowers as G&H suggested. And if you would like to bring some photos, I don’t know any family member who doesn’t love to see those. :) Best of wishes in your new found family relationship!

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Alicia April 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

The best gift would be a book of photos with little bits of text titling and explaining each photo. A photo book in this manner allows the family member the context that is the best gift you can give in this situation.

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Katie K April 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I apologize for this being off the topic of dangerous dogs, but it relates to Frank’s question of giving appropriate gifts.

What would be an appropriate gift from the parents of the groom to the parents of the bride? Our son is being married to a lovely young woman whose family has been most gracious and generous. It’s a rather elaborate wedding: the bride’s parents are originally from India and it will be a traditional Indian wedding, with 3 days of events.

We have met the bride’s parents once – when they flew to our town to hand-deliver the wedding invitation. They also brought us a beautiful box of traditional Indian sweets.

Of course I will be writing them a letter afterwards expressing our delight at the joining of our families, but am wondering if we should bring a gift when we arrive for the wedding weekend.

Perhaps some of you have experience in this area and can offer some suggestions!

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Country Girl April 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Congratulations! That would be lovely and perfectly appropriate for you to bring the family a nice gift. Why not give them a nice gift from your area, perhaps something locally made? If you want to go all out, you could always make a gift basket with a few different item (locally made artwork, sweets, candles… whatever you like!)

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Katie K April 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

Ha! We’re new to this area, but as far as I can tell, the only things locally made are tumbleweeds and BBQ. I can’t travel with a tumbleweed and the bride’s parents are vegetarians (I exaggerate, of course – well, not about the vegetarianism.) Anyway, I’m considering giving them a picture frame for one of the wedding photos.

Thanks, Country Girl, for your thoughtful response!

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Liz October 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

The questioner never implies that the dog is in any way threatening, dangerous or bothersome. It’s only “big.” As the owner of a big dog, who I let off leash at the park, I find this offensive. My dog is always under verbal command and I do not allow her to approach strangers unless they have given indication that it is acceptable. Either the letter is leaving out details, or this person is making assumptions that could be incorrect.

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Jerry October 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I can certainly understand your frustration. But dogs have a mind of their own and, while your dog might be well trained, training does not guarantee good behavior. (What if the seven year old unknowingly wandered into territory the dog thought was his “play area”?)

It only takes one instance where a dog’s curiosity/instinct/whatever gets the best of him before you really have a dangerous situation. If I was in a park, and you let your dog off the leash near me (particularly if it were one of a select variety of breeds), I would immediately leave (while videotaping the incident with my phone), and call animal control. It would not be personal, and I could be making an incorrect assumption. But just the same, I’d rather not take that risk.

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Chocobo October 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

It depends on the laws in the area. If the dog is legally allowed off the leash in the park, then the parent may certainly ask politely, there is never any harm in asking. But they must also accept the answer, even if it is “Sorry, but no.”

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Winifred Rosenburg October 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm

It seems unlikely that this mother took her daughter to a dog run and is now complaining about dogs. I think it’s safe to assume this was a normal park where dogs are required to be on leashes. By the way, these laws are just as much for the safety of the dog as they are for the safety of people. When you’re out with your dog, a car might come out of a driveway fast, and the driver might not be able to see your dog; another animal could attack your dog; in instances like these it is important to have your dog on a leash so you can pull it back as needed. (Yes, I have seen a leash save a dog’s life.)

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