In this new place we have moved to, a town, not a village – a biggish town – I have had my first bit of real unpleasantness since we moved to the UK almost 20 years ago.
I feel emotionally bruised – I don’t do verbal abuse, and usually, in any situation, some agreement can be reached.
But twice now, on our walks with the Furlong dog on a lead, along the canal cycle path, an Alsatian has dislodged itself from distant figures walking towards us, and made a beeline for our dog. Two problems arise. I am frightened of Alsatians, in Africa they were used as weapons and torture devices. The fear is deep-seated.
Secondly, our dog is a rescue dog, abused in the past, and fearful of other dogs. He responds with snarling and snapping. The trigger, for him, is another dog sniffing at his neck. So sometimes he is friendly, and sometimes not. So we keep to ourselves.
So, this is the second time now, the Alsatian launching itself at us, has caused me to shout “please call your dog back!” at which point, the owners have taken no notice at all. It’s the no notice that infuriates. I am left on my own, trying to shoo away an Alsatian and get my dog away, all by myself whilst (probably) spewing fear pheromones all over the place.
And the abuse starts when we get closer to the couple who we can now recognise as a partially sighted person and a companion. I ask them again to call their dog back, which is an off duty guide dog – and they tell me he has a perfect “right” to run free and off lead. They are unbelievably rude and offensive. So twice now, it’s ended in verbal conflagration, in which I am told, my fear, my dog, and me, is MY problem. Yesterday, I was told next time, she would report me to the police!
I think that is what has offended me the most.
So I have been doing my legal homework.
If you are a dog owner, your dog may not frighten anyone or any animal. This applies to all dogs. Period. (that is written in UK law)
But my journey has introduced me to other laws – laws about dogs made by our local council. All dogs within ten metres of a public road have to be on a lead. And in THIS area there are areas where dogs are not permitted at all – like children’s playgrounds and sportsfields – called “Dog Exclusion Zones”.
And other areas where dogs have to be on leads – like a cemetery, but the IRONY of it all, is that there is a goodly section of the canal path where everyone walks their dogs, that is a Dog Exclusion Zone!
I believe the dog in question, belongs to some Guide Dog Association. The fact that the person using it refuses to call it back to them when someone who fears it requests them to, must be against the law.
The correct Guide Dog Association? Maybe… I forgive the dog, but I’m offended by the people who have grown too big for their boots.