Grumpy / Keep your beast on a leash!

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DEAR dog owners,

I have two very young children in my care (a preschooler and a toddler) and we find large dogs intimidating and threatening, especially when you let them off the lead around playgrounds, public parks and common areas.

grumpyOften these areas are clearly designated as “dog on leash” zones. Common sense would suggest to put your dog on a leash if you see young children playing, walking or pedalling nearby. A large dog can be terrifying to a young child and a dog bite or dog attack is not a farfetched possibility given the number of dog attacks that have been reported in Canberra and elsewhere; there was a dog attack on a guide dog in Civic.

I’m sick of dog owners saying to me (as their four-legged beast bounds up to me and my children) that he is ever so friendly and loves children. You might think so, but we don’t know your dog and he doesn’t know us.

We have been terrorised numerous times in local playgrounds by large (and small) dogs that have escaped from yards or are being allowed to run free in the streets by careless owners; almost daily, we see very large dogs let loose in Haig Park with little thought for pedestrians or children who might be sharing that space; we have witnessed dog owners barely able to control dogs on a leash as they dash across roads towards another dog or some poor unsuspecting pedestrian.

We have dog parks in Canberra (I know of at least two, one in O’Connor and one in Yarralumla). Dog owners should use them – we have all paid for these facilities after all and if you can’t get to a dog park, be responsible, keep your beast on a leash and make Canberra streets and parks safer for our children.

Grumpy is an occasional column dedicated purely to things that get up your nose. Readers are invited to vent (no more than 300 words, please) at

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