Last week my associate and I were walking home from an early evening dog walk in Rogers Park. We watched as a man tied up these two beautiful dogs outside a restaurant, and he went in to get his food. I started thinking about how I did this with my dogs eighteen years ago, in the same neighborhood, before I knew about the potential dangers. I always rationalized tying up my dogs outside a store, thinking about how I could walk my dogs and run errands at the same time, and also because one of my dogs would never let a stranger come up and pet him, or try to take him. And that he would protect my other more gentle and sweet dog, who would have gone home with anyone, especially if that person had food. In all the years since I used to tie up my dogs outside a store, I have learned so much about the city I live in, my neighborhood, being a responsible animal guardian, Class B dealers, dog fighting, and maybe a little more about people. So let’s start with all the things that could go wrong in just a few minutes if you have left your dog or dogs tied up outside a store. First, anyone can take your dog. If your dog is friendly towards strangers, then the risk increases. If your dog is not friendly, it might be more difficult but not impossible if someone has a treat or a hamburger. Not all dogs who are stolen will end up in a loving home. Your dog could end up being used as a bait dog in a dog fighting operation, or trained as a fighter. Class B dealers are licensed by the USDA to purchase and sell ‘random source’ animals to medical research, and these random source animals include companion animals like dogs and cats, Other possible scenarios could include a person walking by your dog and petting your dog. Even if your dog is friendly, are you sure that she won’t ever nip or bite someone? What if the person is aggressive towards your dog, or teases your dog? If your dog bites someone, and the police are called to the scene or the injured person reports the dog bite to a doctor or hospital, you will be issued a citation from the city. Your dog will have to be quarantined and then assessed by a veterinarian. Three citations and the city of Chicago will take your dog and have him or her euthanized. What if your dog is startled and gets out of his collar or the leash breaks, then he runs into the street and gets hit by a car? I am sure there are more potentially horrible scenarios, but I don’t think listing them all is necessary. I think it comes down to this reality— you are your dog’s guardian and you are ultimately responsible for your dog’s safety. Your dog cannot know all the potential dangers in your community or all the things that could happen as you are inside getting your pizza or a cup of coffee. You are also responsible to your community, and that means supervising your dog at all times, in a safe and legal manner. Tying your dog up outside a store is not effective multi-tasking; it is a risk you should never take with your dog.
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