Leash laws: Some people hate them. Other people love them.
The Sarasota County Leash Ordinance is located at the bottom of this blog post.
I've taken the time to share this blog in hopes of inspiring the reader to be understanding of dynamics involved with sharing our communities with our four legged neighbors.
As a pet lover with two amazing Shih-Tzus, Mabel and Vera, I am very aware of the many 4 legged neighbors in our specific Sarasota County community. Walking your pet is often one of the fastest ways to meet the friendliest of your neighbors. Many of us memorize the pets names before their human's name. It just seems to work out that way. It's also the most exercise that many humans and their fur babies get each day. Dedicated pet walkers, and their pets, look forward to this daily reprieve from their normal routine.
However, it's not always a great experience. I know this first hand. Occasionally we'll be strolling down the street and an unleashed dog will run over to us. Since Mabel weighs in at 12lbs and Vera at 8.5, it does not take a very large unleashed dog to immediately frighten them and therefore myself as well. Hearing a human calling out from a distance "he's friendly - it's ok", does NOT make it ok. Just ask our neighbor who had to get 18 stitches in his arm this year as he was trying to protect his leashed dog from an unleashed neighbor's dog. His poor 4 legged companion's snout is now forever damaged. I can only imagine that their once relaxing daily adventure has taken on a permanent level of anxiety that will never go away. The awareness that it could happen to any of us is all too real.
Ok... just one last story and I'll wrap this up.
Directly across the street from our house lives an amazingly friendly and well trained collie. This dog just oozes sweetness and playfulness. When this family first moved in, Lassie was often enjoying her freedom in the front yard. She would desire to say hello to every neighbor sxxhe could. However, there are other dogs that are walked past our house that have been trained to protect their humans in the event that a strange dog runs up to them. Some of these dogs are stronger than their humans and could certainly break free if motivated to do so. One such neighbor took the initiative to let them know that she would not be able to stop her very large and strong dogs from killing their collie if they felt provoked.
Moral of the story: Be a good neighbor. Follow the leash laws below. If you choose not to, do not be surprised if a frightened dog or baby walker takes aggressive steps to fend off your unleashed dog.