All animals are a responsibility

Published 3:37 am Wednesday, May 11, 2005

By Staff
I brought home a friend the other day while I was walking and it wasn't intentional. My neighbor can back me up on that. It wasn't a human, rather it was a wet, slimy, happy black lab.
As usual, I was walking my dog in the afternoon. Since she's cooped up all afternoon in my apartment, the least I can do is exercise her. And it's nice that I can exercise with her. When I go walking I get into a zone. It's just me, my dog, my headphones and the pavement. While it may seem like great exercise-some could see it as working on my reflexes-the last thing I want to do is dodge loose dogs.
I don't think it's fair that while some obey the leash law, other people neglect the law, thus making it harmful for those trying to enjoy the outdoors.
I can understand that some dogs escape and it's an accident. However, after talking to several neighbors, trying to find out whose dog it was, I found out that the dog is constantly roaming the streets. One even said it's a wonder the dog wasn't dead yet.
I can understand his statement after watching my new friend happily walk right in front of a vehicle and dart across the street. Obviously assuming the loose dog was mine, the driver honked his horn, flashed me a dirty look and shook his fist at me. I didn't understand why he thought I would be walking one dog on a leash and let the other roam freely.
While it was not my duty to watch out for this dog I felt obligated since the last thing I want to witness was a beautiful lab getting smacked by a vehicle. I believe I would be traumatized. Not to mention, it became quite bothersome to me, and later on down the walk to my dog, Sadie, who would lift her lip occasionally.
I finally arrived home and eventually sat down with my neighbor and we watched the dog snooze on her porch for a bit. It eventually walked away, and to this day I don't know if it survived the walk home.
This, surprisingly, is not my first encounter with a loose dog. There have been several occasions where dogs have run across the street from their homes and snarled at me. It's becoming repetitive and annoying and eventually dangerous.
If the town is going to have a leash law, it needs to be enforced. As my neighbor said so eloquently, it's becoming a safety issue. People who have animals need to be aware of their dogs and what they are doing. Animals are just as much a responsibility as children.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is managing editor at the Brewton Standard. She can be reached at

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