In 1998, I was hiking with my dog in the North Carolina mountains. We were about 2 miles up the mountain, and I saw two dogs, a golden retriever and a yellow lab, running toward us on the trail. I stepped to the side, off the trail, because my dog (who weighed about 25-30 pounds) was sometimes intimidated by larger dogs.
As the dogs came closer to me, I didn't see a person accompanying them. When they reached us, they began to attack my dog, and I quickly picked her up. After what seemed like forever (but was in reality, probably only 3-4 minutes), the owners appeared and pulled their dogs away. By then, I had multiple bite wounds on my legs. Luckily, my dog escaped with only minor scratches, but I was literally a bloody mess. The owners, with leashes in their hands, exclaimed "they have never done this before." I spent the next year in and out of doctor's offices, trying to heal from the resulting infections, and still have scars today.
Two weeks ago, a member of our AARF family was walking her dogs and was similarly attacked. She was in a public park and her dogs were on a leash. Two dogs emerged from a wooded area, again, with no person attached. While she escaped with stitches in both hands, her dogs bore the brunt of the attack. One dog is now afraid to go outside and the other can't use one of his legs, likely from nerve damage. The owner arrived at the scene with leashes in his pocket.
Leash laws are not just a suggestion!
No matter how well-trained you think your dog is, your commands are sometimes no match for a squirrel, cat, or other dog. Walking a dog off of a leash is careless and lazy dog ownership at best, and dangerous in many situations.
Dogs who bite can be impounded and euthanized, even if the dog doesn't have a history of aggression. Could you live with the consequences for your dog if something happened while he was running off-leash?
Dog bites are also expensive. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of a dog bite claim in 2010 was just over $26,000. You could build a phenomenal fenced yard for a fraction of the cost!
Leash laws are common throughout the metro Atlanta area. DeKalb County's leash law is very clear, and applies to both dogs AND cats! If you see someone with an off-leash dog, report him or her. It only takes one time for a dog to react when off-leash to cause a death or injury.
Protect your dog, other dogs and people--keep your dog on a leash!
DeKalb County, Georgia - Code of Ordinances
Sec. 5-4. - Duty to restrain while off owner's property. It shall be the duty of any person to keep an animal under restraint and control at all times while the animal is off the real property limits of the owner. Such areas shall not include county parks that are specifically designated as off leash areas. (Ord. No. 04-15, Pt. I, 12-14-04)
Sec. 5-5. - Animals at large. It shall be unlawful for the owner of an animal to allow it to run at large unattended on or about the streets, right of ways, and highways of unincorporated DeKalb County; in any DeKalb County park, except in county parks that are specifically designated as off leash areas; unattended on or about the common property of any apartment complex or condominium community; or on the property of another person without permission of the owner of that property. This section shall not apply to dogs being used for hunting in accordance with state law, rules and regulations.