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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Irresponsible pet owners should not have dogs

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Dear Editor:

Recently, my service dog and I went to enter the City Market store, after parking in the handicap parking area, closest to the store entrance. While trying to make my way into the store, my dog was attacked from behind by a pit bull, who had jumped out of the window of a parked car.

I am disabled and can barely walk and am counting on my service dog for support in my daily activities, especially giving me support, so I do not fall. I screamed for someone to help me, while trying to get that dog to let go of my dog and hitting that other dog with my cane, as much as I could.

That other dog was wearing no collar, and of course had no leash.

People, who witnessed the attack outside the store and employees came running to help and helped me into the store. My dog and I were visibly shaken.

One guy handed me his business card with the license plate number of the car, where the dog apparently had jumped out of. He said he witnessed the whole thing.

While employees of the store were very nice and helpful trying to calm us down and bringing us water, a woman came into the store telling me she was sorry that her dog had attacked my dog. Supposedly the dog -- a 10-year-old spayed female, had never done that before. She had left the dog with her young, special needs son in the car and the dog was her son's "emotional support dog."

I had help getting back to my car with my dog and was told that I should report this incident, which I did. I called 911 and an animal control officer showed up to get information from me of what had happened.

By Wednesday, I still had not heard anything from anyone. I needed to know if that dog had his vaccinations and what the follow up was. I finally got a call later that day and was assured that one of the officers would follow up with that case.

My dog and I had an awful night and by Wednesday, she kept vomiting. On Friday, she was still very fearful, even at home and was not helping me with the usual tasks. My dog is an 8-year-old Belgian Tervuren and trained to help me with my special needs. She has in the past gone with me everywhere and many people know her and have seen her steady me, help me get up, pick up anything I drop and bring everything I ask her to.

I wish people would be severely punished for not having their dogs on a leash and under control. Usually I have to deal with people, who just reach over to pet my service dog without asking, even though her vest says "Service Dog" - DO NOT PET! Sometimes people don't control their kids and let them run over to my dog, or they whistle at my dog or make cat noises. It is very sad to see that there are not very many responsible pet owners around, which makes it very difficult for me to get out with my service dog, which is very traumatized now, after years of training. I'm not sure if she will ever be the same again -- if so, it may take a long time. I have trained dogs for over 40 years and several of them to be service dogs to teach them tasks for their disabled owners. Rehabilitation after such a traumatic experience is not always possible. I am even afraid now, to take my dogs out in public, as I am no longer able to deal with any dogs, who may not be on a leash and under control by their owners.

Irresponsible pet owners should not have any dogs! Dogs have to be trained!

There needs to be an ordinance that requires pet owners to have their dogs under control at all times, follow leash laws and have them in dog crates when transporting them in a pickup truck for the protection of them and others.

I am very heartbroken over this.

I do not believe that puppies are born aggressive and bad, but that it is dog owners who are bad. I also do not believe that aggression in dogs is breed specific. I have had many pit bulls come through my classes through the years with responsible owners and they were wonderful pets. One of my former students back in Wisconsin has rescued many pit bulls and he goes to the Minneapolis airport with his two dogs weekly, greeting travelers, as ambassadors of the breed.

Marion Wilson
Former owner of
Falkenhof Canines
Dog Training

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