On Tuesday night two unleashed German shepherds attacked a man and his puppy, a Golden Retriever named Star. After the attack, the presumed owner of the German shepherds, took his dogs with him and fled the scene before the police or ambulance could arrive. (For the whole story, you can see the article in the Ridgefield Press, here). This incident makes two things come sprinting to the forefront of my mind. One, what kind of person just flees the scene after an attack like that? And two, why doesn’t Ridgefield have a leash law?
The very first thing that upset me about the whole story was that the man with the German shepherds got in his car, whistled for his dogs to get in the car and he drove off. A friend of mine who showed up just after the attack happened said she thought the owner was just putting the dogs in the car, not driving off. She jumped to the same conclusion I would have come to, one that I think most sensible people would come to. Who would assume this man was going to run off with the dogs? Even the wife of the man attacked was quoted in the Ridgefield Press saying, “My husband thought, ‘Oh, great he is putting the dogs in the car and is coming to help me,’ but he drove away.” It takes a special type of person to run away from something like this. What if the man’s German shepherds attacked a man with a baby, not a puppy? What if it were kids that were attacked instead? Would this man still have run away? Whatever this man was thinking at the time no longer matters. We live in a small town, and now this man has made the front page of the local paper and there is no doubt in my mind that almost everyone not on spring break with their families has heard what happened. Whoever this guy is, he needs to step up and take responsibility of what happened like a man.
At the same time, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the German shepherds were on a leash. Which leads me to my next question, why doesn’t Ridgefield have a leash law? This is important in a community like ours and I was shocked to find out we don’t have one. It especially surprises me that there isn’t at least a leash law in places like the rail trail and the walking trail at the Rec Center. While these are great places for people to take their dogs for walks, they are also places where people like me love to jog/run/walk and especially on the rail trail, there tend to be smaller children as well. Without a leash law, there will always be a higher risk of attacks such as this one. Besides just the risk of attacks, I think a leash law helps calm the nerve of the public. I personally have been scared of large dogs since I was a little kid thanks to a dog (who was not on a leash) chasing me around a tree for what seemed like ages at the time. This may make me somewhat biased on this topic, but I do know that I’m not looking forward to hitting up the rail trail this weekend knowing there could be an unleased dog out there with me. And it’s safe to say, I’ll be taking a turn as soon as I see any German shepherds on my foot travels through town.