There’s no point in dressing this up. The other day, John and Dickens were in the Salem Commons, which I have recently informed readers is not a dog park. It is a place where people walk their dogs, but there are clear leash law signs posted at all of the park’s entrances.
John likes to sit with Dickens in the shade when they go to the commons, and I decided to go for a walk down by Collin’s Cove, since the tide was in and the weather was nice and cool. Not more than ten minutes later, I returned to Salem Commons and saw the Salem Emergency Services Sampler parked near the bench where John and Dickens were sitting. (If you ever want to find out how fast your heart can beat, just look at an ambulance, firetruck, and police cruiser parked in an area where you last saw your loved ones.)
John’s shirt was off and there was blood on him. He held Dickens closely to him while an EMT was applying a splint to John’s forefinger. Not far from them, were the owners of the offending dog, being questioned by police.
As it was explained to me, the dog had broken free of its leash and attacked Dickens, biting down on the cockerspaniel’s muzzle. John went to pry the dog’s mouth from our dog, and ended up with a bite that went through his forefinger into the bone. (According to the x-ray later) The dog that attacked had been on and off of its leash for quite a while. I recalled seeing it earlier, getting excited with the presence of other dogs while the owners remained oblivious to their animal.
Dickens is fine, physically. There was no broken skin, no blood, the vet cleared him this morning. John and I are the ones who are worse for wear, as anyone who has had an animal or a child involved in something like this can probably imagine.
John will have to take antibiotics and possibly see a hand specialist. As for myself, I’m just angry at myself for not having been there. Hindsight is twenty twenty, and as always, whenever we go out with Dickens and I see dogs in the park without their leash, I have it in the back of my mind that I will have to get between Dickens and someone else’s animal.
I don’t want to mention what breed of dog attacked Dickens. I don’t want anyone speculating as to which breed of dog this was, because the breed of the dog is not what’s important here. If I call attention to the breed, people will show their usual tenancy of comically missing the point, by calling for a ban of this particular breed of dog. Then breed will be removed, or put down, or owners will be fined, and anyone who does not have that particular breed will still think that it is okay for them to allow their dogs to go off leash.
This is not a post intending to wrongfully malign one breed of dog. I don’t even think this dog was being vicious, as it probably believed it was playing. This post is meant to highlight the main problem I discussed here.
LEASH LAWS are not suggestions. They need to be strictly enforced, especially in areas where people think that the difference between a park where people walk dogs and a dog park is a matter of semantics.
John has every intention of sending any resulting bills, including the ER and Vet bills, to the owners of the offending dog. Neither of us wants to see this dog hurt or put down because of their owner’s negligence. But we do expect this incident to be treated as seriously as if the worst case scenario had happened.