Subject: Pet Owner Responibility
Eva Tannehill made some very good points in her letter last week. My wife goes for a walk 3 times a week, and she has had to change her walking route 3 times to avoid encounters with unleashed dogs that she percieved to be a threat to her safety.
I would like to expand on Ms. Tannehill’s theme by stating that the issue of pet owner responsibility goes beyond unleashed dogs.
I will cite 2 specific situations of which I have first hand knowledge. Two of our neighbors, who I will refer to as The Cat Neighbor and The Dog Neighbor, have been creating problems with their pets for years. The Cat Neighbor has an untold number of cats; at any time, day or night, I can see 3-6 of them running around in their yard. If they stayed in their yard, there would not be a problem. But this pack of cats doesn’t stay at home. They come to our home and defecate, urinate and “mark” in our landscaping and shrubbery. They sleep on our front porch furniture. We used to be able to sit out on the front porch in the evening and watch the world go by; now it’s like sitting in large, heavily used litter box. The stench is overwhelming. These same cats kill every living thing they can catch: mocking birds, blue jays, mourning doves, white wing doves, robins, and lizards. A responsible pet owner who wants to own a large number of cats should keep the cats inside the house and protect their neighbors and the local bird population from them. The Dog Neighbor has not one, not two, but three small, yapping dogs. These dogs bark at the UPS truck, the DHL truck, The FedEx truck, the garbage truck, the people who walk down Broad Street, my wife and me when we go out into our yard, the dogs, the cats, the squirrels and the blowing leaves. We wake up to the sound of them barking, listen to them all day, and then go to bed to the sound of them barking. We have made 3 calls to The Dog Neighbors asking them to do something about the incessant barking. Each time we get assurances that they will “do something about it,” but they have not. I finally called Animal Control and requested that they install an anti-barking device in our yard (it emits a harmless, high frequency sound when triggered by the bark). The device, unfortunately, has a very short range, so the installation of it gave us only partial relief. Now I am in the process of getting another device installed to provide better coverage. A responsible pet owner would have taken it upon themselves to find a fix for this problem after the very first call, rather than putting their neighbors in a position where they had to take remedial action.
Like Ms. Tannehill, I don’t blame the cats or the dogs as much as I do the owners, and I hope the owners, not just in our neighborhood, but all over Mason, will step up to their responsibilities and take the time and effort required to keep their animals under some semblance of control.