Q: Hi Lou,
A few issues back you had an article about “Dogs on Leads” and how it is law that they should be on a lead when in public places.
I have a dog and love dogs and we are responsible owners. We never go out without poo bags and a water bottle and our dog is never walked off the lead in public places.
I know dog poo is a big problem in Gran Alacant especially on the urbanisations. A few weeks ago I was sat reading at my dining table and saw a man walking his two dogs, off the lead. He was well in front of the dogs and one of the dogs poo’d on the pavement. The man was oblivious to this and carried on walking around the corner. I ran outside to shout to him but was too late. I knew the mans name as I’d only spoken to him, socially, a few weeks before so I knew the name of one of his dogs. I managed to get a message to him to tell him what I’d just seen.
In the last 2 weeks I’ve taken photo’s of some of the dogs that are walked “off lead” and I do seem to be seeing more and more dogs being walked off the lead. Some are dogs that are usually walked on the lead now being walked off the lead, almost as if it’s ok.
The other reason dogs should be on leads is that, although their dog might be very friendly, my dog isn’t always friendly. So, if a dog was off the lead and came over to my dog, the other owner has no control over what might happen.
I wondered if you could maybe put a follow up article in the magazine, again stressing what the law is.
Kind Regards, Lynne
We have asked Clinica Veterinaria located in MASA Square to tell us more about this:
Well, all the reasons I’m thinking about can be summarized like this: you, as a pet owner, are the liable person for whatever your pet would do. Pets, same as children or mentally disabled people, are not responsible for their actions, so, from the moment they are not but us, keeping them under control becomes absolutely necessary, and, in case of dogs, the way to do it is to walk them on the leash.
Despite they are a member of our family and we think we know their reactions perfectly, we must not forget they are animals, and we will never know 100% what they are thinking about. As a horse trainer told me once: “there is no way to know if they have woken up with a terrible headache that day”.
Here is a little list of reasons why you you shouldn’t let your dog run off the leash:
We have heard hundreds of times (fortunately less and less as time goes by) “my dog walks always by my side, so no leash is necessary”. Well, I must sadly say that we have sent to the crematory a significant number of those dogs which “walk always by my side”. All you need is a sudden noise, a rabbit or a cat, the smell of a female in season, etc, and there comes the tragedy. But sometimes the tragedy doesn’t end just here. Let’s suppose your dog was running free and has been hitten by a car, and the car suffered a damage at the bodywork. Can you guess who will pay the workshop’s bill? Exactly. But this is not the worst thing it may happen: imagine that, instead of a car or a lorry, the vehicle involved is a bike or a motobike.
Dogs, same as people, have their preferences: they love some individuals, they don’t care about other ones, and really hate some others. And this is applicable to both naturally friendly and naturally aggressive dogs. So don’t tempt fate. A fight is always a big trouble, specially if the difference of size of the contenders is very big, and if we are talking of two females, specially non neutered ones, whose fights are very often a duel to the death (in males is more common “much ado about nothing”, just like many men). Be very careful when trying to stop the fight, because you’ll have many chances of visiting the hospital.
Not even to mention an aggressive dog. Let’s imagine a 80lb Labrador which decides it’s a good idea to show how much it loves that adorable human baby. You might be taken to court if the dog makes the baby fall down, even if there is no damage.
As many ones as you can imagine: poisoning (if you find something at the campo which looks like poison, call Guardia Civil as soon as possible!!), poisonous plants or animals (remember pinetree caterpillar season is starting!!), pieces of glass or barbed wire which produce nasty cuts, precipices, scavenging, which may produce a gastroenteritis or a blockage, sources of transmission of infectious and parasitic diseases… or just running away. Fortunately most lost dogs are recovered via the microchip, but this happy end doesn’t happen every time.
Other “minor” problems, such as pee or poo at non allowed places, accidental pregnancies, etc.
What does the law say about it? Well, in Spain there is not a regulation for all the territories. The Government allows every town to decide if dogs off the leash are allowed or not. As anyone can imagine, most Town Halls decided not to allow dogs walking off the leash, and there are fines for those who disobey the regulation. We are talking, of course, about non-potentially dangerous dogs. In case of potentially dangerous ones, it’s absolutely forbidden in Spain to let them go off the leash, and, apart from this, the leash must be shorter than 1.5m, non-extensible, and the dog must wear a muzzle all the time, and, of course, the fines are bigger.
But the matter is much simplier: we all are adult people, and we must share with other people and other animals the streets and other public areas, always respecting each other, and keeping our dogs on the leash avoids lots of situations that may imply a real danger. Just empathy and respect.
Calle Hollanda 9, MASA Square, Gran Alacant T: 966 698 569