Do you remember the 2000 hit song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” You can still hear it at ballgames and see it on memes. It is a fun song that people love to sing along with but letting your dogs out in real life can be a dangerous thing.
There are many people that believe dogs should be allowed to run free instead of being fenced in or on a leash. That is great in dog parks and acres of property where there are no vehicles or stranger dangers. When people let their dogs out in neighborhoods, that is a different story.
Reasons NOT to Let the Dogs Out:
Cars:How many times have you seen a dead dog in the middle of a road? Someone must live with the fact that they killed a dog, possibly causing damage to their vehicle (which the dog owner could be liable for repairing), and a family is going to find their beloved pet dead. That image will be burned in their mind’s eye forever. This is a case where everyone loses, and it could have been prevented if the dog had not been running loose.
People:Even the smallest dogs look threatening to someone if they come running and barking in their direction. A person could be injured by being bit, trying to run away, or attempting to befriend a strange dog. The dog could face injury by being kicked, hit with a stick, having a rock thrown at them, sprayed with mace or worse as the human attempts to defend themselves. The dog owner could likely face a lawsuit.
Other dogs: Chances are your dog is not the only one wandering the streets. This can lead to dogfights, exposure to canine diseases, and unwanted pregnancies. If your dog confronts someone walking their dog on a leash, then you double the trouble. This can lead to costly vet bills and yes, a lawsuit. We are a litigation nation!
It’s the law: Most cities have leash laws and if Animal Control picks up your dog, you will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back. That is, if you find out they have been taken to the Animal Control facility before they are euthanized. Due to space limitations, there is a time limit on your dog’s life after being picked up as a stray.
The Evil:There are people who cruise around looking for strays to use in dog fighting training. If your fur baby falls victim to one of these bad people, the chances of recovering them is slim to none. Your sweet dog could meet a brutal death because you felt bad about keeping them inside a fence or didn’t take the time to put a leash on them to take them outside. There are bad people in the world and it is your responsibility to keep your dog safe from their clutches.
I know you are reading this and saying, “That would never happen where I live. My neighbors all know my dog and they know how sweet he/she is, it’ll be okay.” That is fine, but even the kindest neighbor doesn’t want your dog pooping in their yard. We all know the grass is always greener in someone else’s yard and that is where your dog wants to leave their mark. Don’t let your best friend turn a good neighbor into an enemy.
I’m sure the last thing on your mind when you open the door and let your dog run around is that they might not come home but the reality is they may not. All it takes is one distracted driver, one angry neighbor, or one cruel person. The question you need to ask yourself is whether it’s worth the risk. You love your dog, so the answer is obvious. Grab a leash and take them out to do their business or go for a walk. It will do both of you a world of good. When you think about, it is not too much to ask for all they give you in return… unconditional love. They would give their life to protect you and they trust you to protect them.
The next time the question is asked, “Who let the dogs out?” it’s my hope the answer will be “Nobody.”
M. K. Clinton
M. K. Clinton is an award-winning author of The Returns book series and lifestyle dog blogger at Barking from the Bayou. She lives in Texas with her husband of thirty-five years and their two dogs, Bentley Basset Hound and Pierre Westie. A quote from her second book The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers, “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” has become a favorite with dog lovers around the world.