An excellent article seeks to find common ground in the perpetual conflict for public space between dog owners and non-dog owners:
‘Then an insight came to me just after I had turned to the comic Marmaduke in one of my morning papers: At the core of this dispute is a perceptual disconnect — many of the behaviours dog owners think most endearing in their pets are the same ones that frighten non-dog owners sharing the same space.
Let me be clear. I like dogs. It’s not dogs which are the problem. The problem is dog owners, who often seem so befuddled with sentiment that they don’t grasp the impact that owner-tolerated behaviours can have on non-dog owners.
The other day, I walked in a public park. It has a large area for off-leash dog activities that’s well removed from trails or public picnic areas. Footpaths are heavily signed that dogs must be kept on-leash.
In my hour of walking, I passed 27 owners with dogs off-leash. Half a dozen times, dogs ran over and jumped up. Several times they barked. Each time the smiling owner assured me that his or her dog was friendly and didn’t bite.
About 700 dog bite incidents appear to be reported on average each year in B.C. But animal science research at the University of British Columbia finds that only about 10 per cent of aggressive dog incidents are reported to authorities. This is because most bites are from dogs known to the victim – a family pet, a neighbour’s or a family friend’s – which inhibits reporting.’
I couldn’t agree more.