There has been a long going correspondence in the local free papers regarding the lack of responsibility among the far south’s dog walkers- usually regarding not picking up the brown smelly stuff. I was particularly mobilized to write this post in response to a letter in Thursday’s paper regarding the introduction of a ‘dog walking club’ on Fish Hoek playing fields. Under the proposal owners would need to pay a fee and register their dogs, with transgressors reported and continued offences resulting in a dogs membership being revoked. Should this really be necessary?
Fish Hoek playing fields has many signs informing dog walkers that all dogs must be on a leash at all times. A further by-law makes it an offense not to pick up after your dog in any public area. This makes especial sense when you consider that people play sport on the fields, imagine sliding in to tackle an opponent and finding more than grass on the ground- not pleasant.
The playing fields are in particular focus for me because this is where I walk my dogs- on a leash, but I am in a minority. I see all manner of dogs on my walks, from small dogs under control to huge attack dogs that seem to do as they wish. On three occassions my dogs have been attacked by other dogs who seem to be walking without owners. This inparticular scares me to death as I on occassion have my two year old daughter with me. What an out of control rottweiller could do to her is anyones guess.
So why do so many dog owners disregard the law and allow their dogs to run free?
Pure and simple laziness as far as I can see! The dogs run around free and the owners trudge around ignoring them. If the dog poops two hundred yards behind them then they don’t need to pick it up. The dog gets the exercise its needs and the owner doesn’t have to do that much. People are becoming so lazy that I am now seeing irresponsible idiots excercising their dogs by letting them out on the dirt road at the back of the park and letting them run behing their bakkies!
They had similar problems to this in the UK. Now they have hoardes of council workers patrolling parks handing out stiff penalties to those who cannot be bothered to follow simple laws- and why not. It seems unlikely however that this will happen here as the authorities have enough problems dealing with ‘real crime’.
Heres the thing to consider though- any transgrettion of a law is a crime and it is not up to us to decide which laws apply to us. If you walk your dog without observing the laws you are a criminal, just the same as someone who breaks into your house or hijacks your car. The sad thing is that law abiding citizens are few and far between so you shouldn’t be suprised that this is a high crime society.
So set an example and abide by a law without needing to be monitored, or punished for none compliance- this isn’t school, we are adults and should behave accordingly. If you feel like you want to have your dog roam a little then get a retractable lead, and if you don’t like walking the dog then don’t get dogs that need walking- or buy a cat, hamster, rat, chinchilla…