DEAR ABBY: Please remind your readers that it's important to keep their dogs on a leash for their pets' protection as well as the protection of those around them. In my community, leash laws are rarely enforced, and it's common to see dogs running loose in city parks. The result is an increase in dogfights and unwelcome contact with people. Coyote attacks are also common here in the West, and small dogs are often the victims.
If other dog owners kept their dogs leashed, I wouldn't have to worry about them bounding up to mine and the ensuing dogfight that follows when my dogs interpret that behavior as a threat. Remember, just because you think your dog is friendly, that doesn't mean all the other dogs are. If people would just keep their dogs leashed, it would avert a myriad of problems for the dogs and their owners. -- MARGE IN PHOENIX
DEAR MARGE: I'm glad you wrote. Unless dog owners are in an area where it is designated their animals can run loose -- such as an off-leash dog park -- their pets should be leashed for their own safety as well as that of others. Off-leash dog parks (and beaches) provide a place for pets to exercise and socialize while also encouraging compliance with leash and "scoop" laws.
Pet owners must remember that coyotes are intelligent and highly adaptable. While they mostly do their hunting at night, they have also been known to "grab a snack" during the day if they happen to be hungry -- to the dismay of owners of small pets. And when I say "grab," I'm being literal. It has happened in an instant in front of the owner.