As we mentioned above in our roundup, people here love to argue over anything. Cleveland Park‘s message board popped up a musty one this morning over unleashed dogs. I was all ready to snark on this really lame issue until I read a posting by Deidre Flippen. It is perhaps the most heartfelt toe dip into this issue ever:

“I feel the need to respond to the not too infrequent posts about unleashed dogs. I love dogs they are beautiful, fun, playful and just make you feel real good. But since a young school age child many years ago, I have always been afraid of dogs. I lived in NE DC and at that time “German Sheppards” were the rage. They were big and beautiful and most often unleashed when walked by owners. Moreover, even when in a yard with an enclosed fence they prowled and barked scaring me terribly when “walking” to and from school. Even today when I try to do my exercise walks, as a much older person, down and up Connecitcut Ave (sometimes off the avenue), I walk carefully and with caution by homes. And when I see or hear a dog barking, those old fears come back.

Dogs are lovely, and like even cats, must be managed, by their owners who must be responsible dog or cat owners. Let me just say that I was even a reluctant cat owner of 12 years now. I used to be afraid of Cats too. But a friend talked me into saving a stray kitty back then and I regret nary a day. She has all her sharp claws and teeth but is a mostly sweet indoor cat. Nevertheless, when guests come over I secure her in her own space happily or monitor her with others. Anyone with Cats with claws understands. Such care has to be taken with dogs too both in the home and outside the home. Even on my own block when leaving for work in the back folks are out walking their dogs unleashed. I usually stop and make some kind of visual contact with the owner, let them know I’m there. The expectation is that if their dog is not under control they need to do something. It’s very, very uncomfortable for me. I appreciate the idea of allowing their beloved pets a little natural freedom to walk unleashed on their own steam but it can be potentially harmful or even dangerous to others (and their pets leashed). My experience is that even the sweetest dogs if encountered the wrong way will at first act to protect their owner. And dog owners who act unresponsibly should understand and follow DC’s rules to protect our community.

So its early in the morning and I’m rambling. But I just want to say that people with dogs unleashed need to be way more sensitive to people who encounter their unleashed beloved dogs. The best thing, leash them when walking, next if you see folks, get them leashed right away and under your control. Just understand that our pets are our responsibility as a community.

There are so many scary things out there. It seems to me that fear of pets should not be one of them in our community.”