I was not sure where to put this letter (forums, email, posts etc?) but I would love to do something about the issue of walking dogs in our neighborhood. I have been harassed four times in the last few months while walking my dog. Let me start by saying that I ALWAYS carry poop bags and I USE them. I do not allow my dog to eliminate in neighbor’s yards (the property between their house and the sidewalk). I do my best to not allow my dog to eliminate on flowers or gardens between the street and the sidewalk, which is public property according to Seattle City Government. However, I have a dog and she loves to smell and explore; which, besides going to the bathroom, is part of the point of taking her for a walk. It allows her to have some mental stimulation as well as exercise.
Twice I have had people come out and stare at me as I allow my dog to sniff on the PUBLIC side of the sidewalk and threaten me to get off their property. TWICE I have had people come out and yell at me to get my dog off their property. I have nicely tried to explain that I am respectful and responsible and this is after all, public property. The city even suggests if you are worried about anything that would happen on the land between the street and the sidewalk, don’t plant anything there, as they can not control the flow of people or animals in those areas.
I am really getting tired of having a nice walk with my dog and enjoying the weather and then being harassed to the point I come home angry and in tears wanting to move away from here. The question I pose, where exactly should I walk my dog and how exactly can I explain to her that there is maybe three spots in a one mile radius where I can allow her to smell and explore (and yes, pee).
I can see that it is frustrating to deal with dog owners that don’t clean up and allow their pets to go in yards but it is not fair to punish me. I also ask, “where should I walk my dog?” She isn’t allowed at parks and now I’m being told she can’t even stray from the sidewalk (which legally, as long as I have her on a four foot leash and she is on city property, she can go and smell whatever she wants) .So, what is the solution here? I find myself getting very defensive and angry and I have rights too.
I also would like to mention that I have a cat as well. I keep him inside so he does not hunt birds or other wildlife. I do this for his safety as well. People drive 50 miles an hour around here but that seems to be ok.