Should I Intervene With Negligent Dog Owners? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Should I Intervene With Negligent Dog Owners?

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Dear Reverend,

The other night I was walking my dog when I noticed another dog trailing behind us. She slowly approached and was very sweet and submissive. There were no owners in sight. An address was listed on the dog tag, so I brought her home a few streets over. When I knocked on the door, the two young women inside acted like they didn't even know the dog had been out. They made it seem like she is out and about all the time. They also didn't say, "Thanks for bringing back my dog."

My husband and my neighbor have also seen the dog cruising the sidewalks. These sightings lead me to believe that the owners just let their dog out to roam the streets to do her business. This seems very irresponsible. As a helicopter dog mom, I don't want her to get hit by a car. Should I be concerned?

Fearing for Fido (female, 28)

Dear Fearing for Fido, 

An escape-artist beagle lives in my neighborhood. Anytime I see him running loose, his people aren't too far behind. It's obvious they're concerned about his whereabouts. The people you describe sound like they don't pay much attention to what their dog is up to. It's just a matter of time before something unfortunate happens to the little buddy.

Since you know where they live, you could talk to the owners directly or write them a letter. But I understand if that feels weird. How about giving your local animal control officer a call and letting them do the dirty work? Not only is being out alone unsafe for the pup, it's most likely also illegal. Vermont doesn't have a statewide leash law, but most towns do. The owners could face fines if the dog is caught running the streets. Hopefully a little brush with the authorities will nix the neglect.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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