Leash Your Damn Dog – It’s A Pandemic

By Carol Denney

“In epidemiology, a disease vector is any agent which carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism; most agents regarded as vectors are organisms, such as intermediate parasites or microbes, but it could be an inanimate medium of infection such as dust particles.” – Wikipedia

Or it could be your dog. 

A solid third of the local dog owners one encounters are waiting for a really good reason to leash their dogs, like finding themselves surrounded by a pack of wolves. But even then they would probably ask, “where’s the sign?”

I always wish there was time to tell them the story of a elderly client of mine who fell while taking a walk in the on-leash area by the bay having been encircled and tripped by a small dog technically on a leash untethered to a human hand. She broke a hip, her health deteriorated over a short period of months, and she died. 

I always think Bay Area people are clear about wildlife needing the shoreline to rest and nest until I watch dog owners fondly enjoying watching Rover scatter a flock of migratory birds taking a crucial breather before they try for the intercontinental leg of their life-or-death journey. 

And I’m always prepared for the shower of profanity pouring from the typical dog owner’s mouth if I mention the necessity of protecting and respecting shoreline habitat during all seasons but especially in spring. So hey, stout woman in the red hat and the long blue quilted parka with the license plate reading 6RVJ406 and the unleashed dog she probably didn’t plan to have jump on me but did; it’s for your own health as much as mine. 

Your dog is a disease vector just as surely as the button on a traffic light, or a plate of cookies passed around a party. If the East Bay Regional Parks’ edict (“Bring dog leash (6-foot max) and dog poop bags”) and the City of Berkeley’s guidelines (see below)* are not clear enough for you and you really, really want “a sign”, I recommend taking a look at the mounting global and national death toll. Leashing your dog, honestly, is the very least you can do.

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*   No owner/guardian or keeper of a dog shall allow or permit a dog to be or run at large in or upon any public place or premises unless such dog is securely restrained by a substantial leash not to exceed six feet in length.  An obedience-trained dog under effective charge and control within six feet of his master shall be deemed to be on leash. (BMC 10.04.090) The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs being used by disabled individuals as service animals.

  It is unlawful for any person to permit any dog to be in or upon any public playground or park maintained by the City unless such dog is securely restrained by a substantial leash not to exceed six feet in length. (BMC 10.04.120) – City of Berkeley

Off-leash dog in Nature Area, wrong side of fence.
Owner(s) of this dog, 200 yards away, also unlawfully present in Nature Area

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One thought on “Leash Your Damn Dog – It’s A Pandemic

  • A large percentage of regular walkers in Chavez Park come for the off leash area and a large percentage of people who come to the park on a regular basis have dogs. We dog owners were helpful and necessary when the park was at risk; our input Martin said made the difference in our winning the day. But now as soon as the threat is gone the revival of attack on dogs is on again. We dog owners love owls and birds and life and nature and 99% of the dogs have never caused any problems . Please let’s get along and continue the off lease area.

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