Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

I’m a dog owner living in southern Shaw. My dog is a rescue and has fear aggression around other dogs, which we’ve tried to work on, but our vet has told us she likely always will be fearful and aggressive around other dogs. We have the proper harness and leash length to keep her and other dogs safe.

At times we encounter off-leash dogs. While I can’t for the life of me understand why they wouldn’t just take their dog to the Shaw dog park a few blocks away, usually owners are respectful and leash/pick up their dogs when we politely ask, with little to no fuss.

We regularly (1-2 times a month) encounter a group of adults walking a few dogs in our neighborhood who always walk one dog off-leash, while the others are leashed.

Of course, my dog begins barking because of her fear aggression. Several times, when we’ve politely asked (e.g., “Hi, can you please put your dog on a leash?”) they are incredibly rude, and all the while their dog keeps wandering closer and closer to our dog. They insist that their dog is “good with other dogs,” but ours is not–who’s to say what will happen if your dog continues to get closer to mine, and my dog snarls? You can’t predict what even the best-behaved dogs will do if they feel threatened.

Eventually, they usually do pick up their dog, but the encounters have gotten increasingly more contentious. This morning (Sunday 2/16) one of the adults, a man, shouted a tirade at me and my dog, while one of the women picked the dog up for maybe half a block and then set it down again, still unleashed.

We need to keep our dog (and other dogs!) safe, and don’t know what to do. We’re at the end of our rope with this (there is a dog park a few blocks away!) What they’re doing is against the law, but more importantly, endangers our dog and theirs. I don’t want to wait for a tragedy to happen before reporting this. We’ve thought about (and have told these people) that we’ll call animal control and the police, and I believe that’s what we need to do the next time this happens. Has this worked for anyone? Should I take photos/video of them in action and submit them somewhere? Any other suggestions?

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