A Dispute Over Leash Laws Starts a Neighborhood Battle

It was not as though Lulu lacked manners.

However!

It was Cinco de Mayo, and sometimes a girl just . . . loses all self-control.

Andrew Pielage/Dog: Rusty
Francine Hardaway
Francine Hardaway

When the front door swung open, Lulu took one look at the chaos inside the home and threw herself into the party. She went straight to the couch and knocked a beer out of the hand of an attorney sitting there. Lulu then drank in the scene.

She scanned the 20 or so dogs in the living room.

Surrounded by her own kind, and inside a home, she was free and pleased with her canine self. Lulu looked back at the man who'd let her off her leash.

"This is who I am . . . Do you see me, finally?"

I'd seen that look before. It was the look Maria Conchita Alonso, all ratted hair and gang makeup, gave Sean Penn's cop in the movie Colors.

How you like me now . . . bay-bee?

The party was for dog owners who let their mutts off leash at Los Olivos, a city park. These dog walkers had been targeted by police for allowing their pets to chase a ball, to catch a Frisbee, to, you know, run with the big dogs.

So, a year ago, they gathered to commiserate on Cinco de Mayo. The host, Francine Hardaway, invited everyone to bring their dogs to her home.

She threw the party again, last month.

At last year's party, everyone was up in arms about city cops taking the time and money to ticket people who let their dogs run loose in city parks.

These folks aren't layabouts lingering near the basketball hoop that hasn't had a net in years. These are the people drawn in the architectural renderings of parks, the people who turn a greenscape into a neighborhood.

This year, the Los Olivos people are not just resigned; they are demoralized.

From 2010 to 2013, the city issued 2,489 tickets to owners of off-leash dogs, according to the Phoenix Court Management System.

The Phoenix Police Department's Desert Horizon police station was a whirlwind of enforcement last year.

Officers on bikes, squad cars, and unmarked vehicles hit three parks 13 times between April and July, according to a citizen survey. Both uniformed officers and undercover cops participated in raids using as many as six squad cars or bikes per incident, says a nearby resident who kept a tally with her neighbors. (When asked, the police department said it had no records available.)

The police sweeps originating in the Desert Horizon precinct involved Sand Piper, Jack Rabbit, Crossed Arrows, and Sereno parks in North Phoenix.

If you have a dog, and you let the dog run around while you walk in the local park, your neighbors are going to call the cops — and the cops are going to take action.

Why, you might ask?

Over a 20-year period, one study documented that 16 people a year die in dog attacks across the entire country. This puts the risk at somewhat higher than the number of Americans lost to the Ebola virus annually. Yet these scant numbers have inspired legislators, law enforcement, do-gooders, the readers of newspapers, school crossing guards, and stay-at-home mothers to pen strongly worded letters to the editor.

You know something's afoot when lawyers sniff a billable hour.

Attorneys now offer services to victims of bites. The issue of loose dogs is not merely part of a civil discourse; it is a part of some law firms' cash flow.

In Arizona, you easily can find representation. Take, for example, lawyers like Larry H. Parker or Mark Breyer.

Parker's website says 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year and that 800,000 seek medical attention (meaning 3.9 million manage to live full and meaningful lives without a nurse's intervention).

Parker goes on to inform victims what must be done promptly:

"Seek immediate medical attention; call the police and animal control; insist the police make a report; insist the dog be quarantined; have the dog examined for rabies; write down a description of the dog, especially if the dog cannot be located or captured; write down the name and address of the dog's owner; write down the name and address of witnesses; take pictures and notes of your injuries; preserve clothing and other evidence carefully."

Dance the hokey-pokey?

Attorney Breyer notes that insurance policies have limits of up to $100,000 per incident, but the rub, he says, is that dog owners often are not willing to part with the money.

We do know that the Maricopa County's Animal Care and Control said 4,878 bites were reported last year. No information on funeral services as we went to press.

The Arizona Department of Health marshaled data to promote 12 safety steps when confronted with a dog. Having abandoned efforts to get all of us under our school desks in case of a nuclear attack, dogs are a reasonable threat replacement.

The Department of Health concluded in its report that it was necessary to "promote responsible dog ownership, including training, socializing, and neutering of dogs; increase knowledge of how to behave around a dog; support animal-control efforts; regulatory/legislative measures . . . requiring insurance, placing primary responsibility for a dog's behavior on the owner."

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32 comments
likelyjunkmail
likelyjunkmail

Please. Come to Royal Palm Park on Sunday morning and try to take YOUR dog -- or your child -- for a walk without having it, him, or her put at risk by out-of-control, unleashed dogs. Then tell us all about how mean the neighbors are for complaining. First, though, interview the residents who have been bitten, or who have been seen running, in tears, with their little dogs in their arms for their cars to take their (leashed!) pets to the emergency vet. Oh, and ask them how much they had to pay just to walk in the door of an emergency veterinarian's office.


And please talk with my ASU student who was attacked, while jogging near her home, by a loose dog and permanently crippled by tendon and joint injuries.

Until you've done your legwork (heh...pun intended), hold the half-baked opining.

samhillyer789
samhillyer789

I don't care if your dog is well behaved put it on a goddamned leash

dary1
dary1

Where I grew up in North Carolina, all the dogs ran free 24/7 and lived outside in garages and doghouses. Can't recall anybody ever being bit. My dog went with me everywhere, free as a bird, running next to my bike. Nobody complained. The only dogs that barked and growled were the ones fenced in a yard or chained to a stake. They had no escape and thus were fearful. Interesting thing is when those angry dogs escaped their prison, they stopped barking and growling and became friendly. Freedom is a wonderful thing and should not just be reserved for humans. 

ob2coyote
ob2coyote

Anyways.. This is what you get when you decide to make the government take care of all your problems rather than dealing with them yourself.


Do we need every dog owner to be punished no matter how harmless their dog is?

Obviously not. If your dog can be off a leash and not run away, not jump on and/or lick random people then it should be allowed to. But then we have these a**holes that would inflict those things upon other people and just not give a damn. On the other side of the coin you have the people that would demand laws that punish everyone whether harm is done or not. The people that will call the police simply because your dog is off the leash.


Some people are truly great and wonderful but people as whole are a bunch of childish little c*nts and this is what you get.


I often wonder if the police didn't have time to stop, or later catch, my sister's rapist because they were too involved answering calls and writing tickets for a bunch of childish little c*nts that couldn't exercise a little personal responsibility or solve their own problems.


naoma
naoma

Love you all and your comments.....

naoma
naoma

Lotsa luck living in the USA full time.  

naoma
naoma

I live in USA when I am not traveling the world and keep up with USA news.  Thanks.

naoma
naoma

Sweetie,  my life   is travel but my home is USA when I am there.  Peace be with you!!! Love your 

comments.    HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ANYWHERE in the world?  I have been EVERYWHERE and

met every sort of person on earth!!!!!!

naoma
naoma

Boy, are you one "nasty" person.  Just because I do not like dogs.  Sorry about that.  But

"to each his own as the lady said as she kissed the cow."  I have an all white house and

car without any smells.  So be it.  Peace be with you.  You are pretty funny.  Maybe you 

can spar with me in my "stand up comedy act."?????  SERIOUSLY.    I wish you well and

do not care what you like..  I am entitled to my opinion.  And, dogs still STINK!!!!!!

naoma
naoma

wow 20 dogs in that house.  what a stink@@@@

naoma
naoma

Yes.  I know you are being "sarcastic" but I care not a whit.  Presently I am living in Paris for

several months and do not care what anyone thinks of me.  Parisians do not FORCE their

dumb mutts on anyone!!!!!!

naoma
naoma

How can ANYONE who has a nose STAND the FOUL smell of a dog?  Puke worthy.  So sue me!


naoma
naoma

I HATE DOGS.  No, I really do.  I cannot stand the SMELL of them.  I begin to GAG if they are near me.  So, none perrmitted in my home or car, etc. and do not go where they are in other people's homes.  SO SUE ME!  

DryHeat
DryHeat

Margaret T Hance Dog park is 6 miles away from Los Olivos...not 9.  By all means, don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

And what kind of a dog owner locks his dog in his truck when the high is 92 degrees outside, as it was this past Easter?!  Hopefully that dog will run away from its selfish owner the next time he's off-leash.

kell490
kell490

@dary1 Where you grew up didn't have idiots like in South Phoenix where they make dogs mean by kicking them so these dogs will bite when people come into the yard ( Ghetto alarm system). Then the dog gets out though a hole in the fence and runs to a park attacks someone or another dog seen this before.

likelyjunkmail
likelyjunkmail

@ob2coyote Your dog may be innocent. But if someone else's isn't? You don't mind, I guess, if your dog is attacked and bitten by someone else's unleahed dog, because after all it's not the gummint's business to interfere with your and your fellow park-goer's or sidewalk-walker's affairs? 


Leash laws protect YOUR dog, not just the neighbor's kids or pets. Principal be da**ned, IMHO.

rockdog48
rockdog48

@naoma Well good for Parisians.  We here in America, have had the mutt Obama Forced on us by the Libtards and drug/welfare addicts.   He not only invades the privacy of our homes and drinks our beer but imposes his will on every element of our lives.  It would be something else if he were our true POTUS but most of us know that he is an illegal alien and a pro-Muslim Interloper that we can't get rid of for another 2+yrs.   And we know that he has plans to create a False Flag so that he can declare martial law so that he can remain in ofc. indefinitely.    WTP will probably have to endure another civil war just to rid ourselves of this globalist backed Muslim lover.

rockdog48
rockdog48

@naoma Try putting up with the Foul smell of an Obama supporter!

raisingarizona12
raisingarizona12

@DryHeat Actually, you're both wrong, but you're slightly closer to the mark.  It's 6.9 miles from Los Olivos to Margaret Hance Park, according to Mapquest.  I live across the street from Los Olivos.  For the record, I am definitely in favor of opening the park to dogs off-leash, even if for certain times or in certain locations in the park. I am definitely NOT in favor of undercover police spending their time issuing criminal citations to people who want to play Frisbee with their dog in a public park.

dary1
dary1

@kell490 @dary1 Same idiots there. But the dogs where different, even the ones trained to be mean. The mean ones usually stop being mean when they are free and part of a universe where all dogs are free. 

ob2coyote
ob2coyote

@likelyjunkmail That was an impressively long string of words that make no sense at all... 


If someone's dog attacks my dog I'll shoot it and/or make the dogs owner pay a hefty amount in court for not controlling an obviously unsafe dog. I don't need for "cops" to run around punishing everyone for nothing.


Have some personal responsibility for once.

naoma
naoma

@raisingarizona12 @naoma Love your comment.  Always love a true

Christian and love for all.  Best laugh I've had this pat hour!!!!  As a stand-up comic i"d say more, but it might be "lost in the translation."

naoma
naoma

@rockdog48 @naoma WHO EVER SAID I SUPPORT ANYONE?  NOT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You do not know me so how can you comment on anything I 

say?  But I love it anyhow!!!!!  speak on.  

naoma
naoma

@raisingarizona12 @naoma  Pretty sure that if you have a dog (or dogs) in your home your house smells.  You cannot smell it because your are 

used to it.  So, I live in peace..........and presently I am living in Paris,

France. 

DryHeat
DryHeat

@raisingarizona12 @DryHeat 

It's pretty self-righteous of you to say that I'm wrong, when perhaps it's Mapquest that's wrong...or it could be Google Maps that's wrong. Or maybe you're the one who's wrong, raisingarizona12.  Either way, your post was annoying.

According to Google Maps, Los Olivos Park is 6.2 miles away from the Margaret T. Hance Dog Park.

I also went to Mapquest and it said 6.1 miles if you take McDowell.

dary1
dary1

@DryHeat You dweebs fighting over .7 tenths of a mile personify the type of alarmists mentioned in the story. 

 
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