Here is what I wrote:
I am a South Burlington resident and have been for about four years. I have been a Vermont resident for most of my life. I love the dog-friendly environment of my home state, but am quite dismayed at the number of people who fail to comply with the leash laws in our local parks. I am a disabled person who works with a service dog and I have had a very difficult time finding a safe place to exercise my dog where he isn't interfered with in some way by off-leash pets. I don't have a yard, so I depend on public spaces. My dog was viciously attacked by an off-leash pet (while the owner shouted "he's friendly" from about twenty feet away) a couple of years ago on a Burlington bike path and it really impacted both his life and mine for about two years (and continues to do so to a lesser degree). Since then, every time somebody's loose dog runs up to him and gets in his face, it traumatizes him yet again (I liken it to someone suffering an assault, and then being approached in the same manner repeatedly and without warning). I do my part by avoiding dog parks and public parks that don't employ a leash ordinance, but even then I can't avoid the onslaught and I'm beyond tired of it. And it isn't just me who's tired of it. There are lots of us, and in fact I believe we are the majority of the dog-owning public.
I was at a local park just yesterday and had somebody's off-leash pet get in my dog's face. Again. When I pointed out that there was a leash law, the owner replied "Yeah, I know but nobody pays attention to it". How is that okay? What about folks with dogs who are fearful or aggressive? ALL dogs need to be walked, not just friendly ones. Where are they supposed to go? What about people who might otherwise enjoy the park, but are afraid of dogs? What about people like me who respect the laws and need others to do what they are supposed to do so that we ALL can enjoy public spaces? How is this fair? Unfortunately, it seems that people subscribe to the misconception that if their dog is friendly (or more accurately, if they think their dog is friendly), it's perfectly okay to let them run around loose. It's not. It's not safe for the dog, it's not fair to other people and the idea that "it's okay to break the law because everybody else does it" is not okay. Those of us who respect the laws are tired of paying the consequences for those of you who can't be bothered. For more information about how irresponsible dog ownership effects others, please go to: http://notesfromadogwalker.com/all-things-dinos/
What do YOU think?