‘Editorial: If your dog isn’t ready for crowds, leave him at home’


By Max R. Weller

See the Times-Call commentary here. Copied below in its entirety:

Dogs are fun, cute and often friendly, and even are considered family by many Front Range residents. And while well-behaved dogs can get along with people at public festivals, not every dog belongs.

The crowds, noise and confusion can be too much for some pets, who should be left at home. But some dog owners don’t understand that.

Dogs that are not under control of their owners can become aggressive toward other dogs and toward people. One Longmont festival-goer a couple of summers ago reported that a family member was bitten by a dog at the Festival on Main and had to receive rabies shots.

But leaving dogs at home isn’t only for the benefit of people. Many dogs may find that the racket and the throngs of people are too much.

Earlier this summer, the Lafayette City Council — citing the need for safety of people and of their pets — passed a resolution prohibiting animals at many of the city’s public events. Concerns about animals being injured by people, animals’ exposure to loud music, animals fighting with each other and animals biting or being aggressive toward people led the council to unanimously approve the resolution.

While dogs are still welcome at festivals in other communities, their owners should think hard about whether it is wise to bring their pets into places with hundreds or thousands of people and other dogs.

The American Veterinary Medical Association advises pet owners to “leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked.”

That advice is particularly about the Fourth of July, but many festivals in Front Range communities present every other potential provocation for an untrained animal — crowds, loud noises and unfamiliar places.

Getting a dog accustomed to crowds and to strangers is a smart thing to do, but unless a dog already is accustomed to everything it might encounter at a city festival — the kinds of distractions that, for instance, a service dog could handle well — then it is best to get that training at a time and place designated for dogs and their owners. There are plenty of such options available to Front Range residents — from special dog-friendly festivals to parks set aside specifically for them.

Otherwise, dog owners should do themselves, their pets and other festival-goers a favor and leave the dog at home.

My online comment from the T-C website follows:

We can hope that the nonprofits in Boulder County, especially Bridge House / Carriage House in Boulder, will STOP pushing the ill-advised idea of dog ownership for the homeless. I’ve never seen a transient’s pet which appeared to be well-cared for, all of them suffering from abuse and / or neglect to varying degrees.

And so-called service dogs, claimed to be such by their homeless owners? Most of the time it’s a scam. But, even if it is a properly-trained dog and its owner trained as well, any Service Dog must be well-behaved at all times, or both dog and owner can be told to leave the premises of any establishment which otherwise must abide by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

I’ve seen FAKE service dogs and clueless transient owners ejected from the RTD’s SKIP bus in Boulder, because the animal was aggressive and not under the owner’s control; in addition, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless no longer provides a kennel for dogs belonging to homeless clients because of similar canine misbehavior.


This poor dog looks half-starved (photo taken on University Hill).


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