You Must be an ADULT To Walk a Dog! UPDATED!!!

Arrrrroooooo! Readers — This ffzyyafati
proposed law
makes me want to lift a hind leg somewhere in Manassas, Va:

City leaders want to make it a requirement that only responsible adults be the ones walking their dogs.

“At the other end of the leash, there must be an individual who is competent to control the animal,” Manassas Councilmember John Way told NBC Washington’s Craig Melvin.

Way admits this has not been a widespread problem, however one woman recently reported having to jump on the top of a car to escape two stray pit bulls.  Way also ran into a similar problem while walking his small dog down a public street.

That’s the spirit! Cripple an entire culture because of two incidents. Prohibit children from having any responsibility, any role to play in the adult world other than being cute (and victims, of course). One question, Manassas: Will children be allowed to pour their own milk before age 18? Or are the dangers just too great? — L.


I just spoke to John Way, the city council member who is sponsoring this law, and he says that it does NOT specify an age that the dog walker has to be. Only that the walker be competent! So the reporter got it wrong in the story I picked up, and I’m sorry I repeated it here before speaking directly to the councilman. All is a little saner than previously thought! Woof! — L.

Kids and pets: What a dangerous combination!


82 Responses to You Must be an ADULT To Walk a Dog! UPDATED!!!

  1. magnuminsp February 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Define “responsible adults “! LOL

    Good grief!

  2. leah e. February 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    i can kinda see that. they need to tweak the law to have a weight ratio limit between the dog’s weight and the child’s weight.

  3. Jessica from The Leaky Boob February 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Oh yes, let’s start breeding the next generation to be poor pet owners now by stripping away their interactions with animals one by one.

    This is a silly law. What we really need is a dog walking license, you must be at least 23, weigh 140lbs, have brown hair and able to whistle “Puff The Magic Dragon” in it’s entirety. Arbitrary enough?

  4. karyn blass February 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    who exactly was walking the “stray dogs”–obviously not a “responsible adult”!

  5. jen February 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    But these incidents have nothing to do with children walking a dog and having the dog get away from them because they are not “responsible” dog walkers. This is about dogs roaming around neighborhoods with NO ONE walking them. Why are the kids being label irresponsible?

    This also takes away the age old caveat….

    “Mommy mommy can we get a puppy?”
    “Are you going to walk it and feed it and take care of it ….it’s your pet your responsibility.”
    “Oh silly mommy, you know I can’t legally walk the dog or go to the store to get it food. You’ll be fined. Now I wanna puppy!

  6. oncefallendotcom February 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    I don’t get the correlation between a guy getting chased by stray pit bulls and the need to prevent minors from walking dogs. Was there some complex scientific formula that they used to come to a conclusion like this or did it involve inhaling a controlled substance?

  7. Karen February 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Hey, I don’t know who these special people are that can cause us to change laws based on their inconvenience. I have always had trouble with loose dogs or out of control dogs on leash when I walk my dog. I don’t get the whole community to change for me. Yes, it would be nice to have dogs controlled as mine is. But why does this have to be an age thing? THere are kids who show dogs in obedience trials.

  8. Emiky February 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I’m confused. Did the councilman have trouble controlling his small dog on a leash? Because that’s how I read it.

  9. Emiky February 18, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Jen, you made me laugh.

  10. Wilson February 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Silly Lenore! Don’t you know you can’t sue children. They don’t have any money. At least mine don’t.

  11. Wilma February 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    My son is 9 and very capable of walking a dog and cleaning up after it.
    He was confronted this past summer at the park in our neighborhood when he let our 40lb. sweetheart of a mutt off leash to take a swim in the water.

    The “mean man” yelled at him and told him that dogs must be leashed at all times, there’s signs posted everywhere!
    He replied honestly- “sorry sir, my dog can’t read”.

  12. Jules February 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    Not to mention that these incidents cite animals just “running loose”. It doesn’t say anything about them having gotten away from a child.

    The elderly woman at the end of my street was dog-sitting for her daughter. It used to pull her down the street! The reason she was dog-sitting? The same dog had pulled her daughter off a curb and the daughter broke her leg. Should we also say that people under a certain weight, or over a certain age shouldn’t walk dogs either? My 12-year-old walks my dog, and takes bags to clean up after him. Yet I find that most of the adults in our neighborhood just leave the poop on the street. I spent all yesterday walking my dog side-stepping the poop of OTHER dogs.

  13. Chris February 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    I agree, what does an issue with stray dogs “hunting for something” have to do with children walking the dog?

    I do like the comment on the OP about the dogs pooping on someone’s yard… note that post is from “CATMOM3”. Biased much?

    There is a huge fear of kids and dogs. Our local dog park boosters at the city dog park wanted to ban children from being in the dog park. For the safety of the children.

  14. dmd February 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    LOL! Funny. Although I don’t let my child walk my dog. I’ve posted here before what a flight risk she is. She waits for any chance. Heck, I hardly feel capable. My husband has walked her and she’s gotten away. Thankfully she is very sweet and also beautiful in a way that people are drawn to her. So we’ve always gotten her back. But she won’t come home on her own! Her nickname is trouble!

  15. Liz February 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    My son is 4.5, and loves to walk our 12 year old husky, on the sidewalk, in Philadelphia. He’s always supervised, and my husband and I clean up after the dog. It’s taught him patience, and responsibility, plus the dog gets a much better walk jogging down the sidewalk with a pre-schooler than she does on a sedate walk with a grown up! We’ve gotten almost universally positive responses when we’re out and about.

  16. pentamom February 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Manassas must be a strange community indeed if it is a non-rural area that *doesn’t already have laws against uncurbed dogs.*

    Oh, they do? Then why do they need to add another one preventing 13 year olds from walking poodles? At the very most, the law should state that dogs should be in their owners’ control at all times while in city limits. And I’d be EXTREMELY surprised if there wasn’t such a law.

  17. Timmyson February 18, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Not nearly as outrageous as treating kids like criminals and requiring them to check in via GPS:

  18. Uly February 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Wilma, if the rule in the parks is leashed dogs only, why are you proud of your child for knowingly breaking that rule?

  19. michelle pope February 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Actually! Kids shouldn’t walk dog depending on weight. A dogs strength is 3 times its weight. 30 lbs dog needs a least a 90 lbs person to control. Recently, on a walk with my dog we were attacked by two dogs that broke away from their teenage handler. My dog barely survived. My son who sometimes walks our dog at age 10 yrs old would have been ill equipted to handle the situation on his own. But the same is true for a 120 lbs women walking a large retriever. By the time my son is 17, he would have the weight and strength to handle a large dog where some adult women technically could not. So, know your animal and your kid. Parents shouldn’t have to deal with dumb laws, but don’t let youre 70 lb girl walk a German Shepherd!

  20. Matthew Miller February 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    “At the other end of the leash, there must be an individual who is competent to control the animal” seems pretty reasonable to me.

  21. Swain February 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Ah, another tag for the customized kid collar. Let’s see, what do we have so far…

    “I am allowed to be outside without an adult.”
    “I am authorized to and capable of walking this dog.”
    “I have no food allergies.”
    “I am vaccinated.”

  22. Jennifer February 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    My daughter started walking our dog when she was six. Of course, the terrier mix weighs 9 pounds. Now that she’s eight I still don’t let her walk our 85 pound hound-lab mix.

  23. Swain February 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Oh, one more:

    “My lawyer’s name and number is….”

  24. kcs February 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    So kids can’t babysit because they’re not mature enough, walk dogs because they are not strong enough, sell lemonade because they have no health dept. certificate or deliver papers because that’s all done at 5 a.m. by car these days. My guess is that mowing lawns is right out as well since God knows what could happen if a 14 year old operated something with a motor and a sharp blade. So any notion any kid might have about earning money and moving toward financial self-reliance is now deemed unsafe and illegal. Nice.

  25. Jenny February 18, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    I agree that a small child walking a large dog can be dangerous, and also that we can use common sense, not laws, to work around this. When my 25 pound child walks our 60 pound dog, she knows to drop the leash if the dog pulls too hard. I know that our dog would not hurt anyone if the leash were dropped, and the parent or big sister along on the walk could retrieve the leash in moments. The danger of the proposed law is that it makes my common sense scenario illegal.

  26. Big Mac February 18, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    “At the other end of the leash, there must be an individual who is competent to control the animal”
    Agreed – but there are plenty of kids who are competent to control the animal. It really comes down, like most things, to using your judgment as best you can. Maybe your kid can’t control a Great Dane but would be fine with a beagle. Maybe your dog would be too much for your 8 year old but not for your 12 year old.

  27. Jeni February 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    So an adult with chronic pain issues causing her hands to spontaneously release things like coffee cups and dog leashes, such as myself, can walk a big strong dog, because of my advanced age… but I can’t hire the 12 year old boy down the street who hulks over me and splits firewood (with an axe! omg scary!) and shovels snow and can actually hold onto the leash consistently?! Ahhh, smart. Well good thing I don’t live there, I guess. :-/

  28. threekim3 February 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    Or y’know we could just teach people how to be responsible pet owners. If you have to use your strength to control your dog most of the time, then that means that there is something wrong with the relationship between you and your dog. I will admit there are times when sheer strength is needed, but frankly, if you tell your dog to leave it he should.
    As for a 70lb girl walking a german shepard. I remember being that small and walking our 120lb Rottweiler. I handled him just fine because my father had trained both him and me well. And it’s because of that, that today I have no problem taking control of a pack of 5 mastiff breeds. Dogs respond more to mental strength than physical (although it does help to outway the dog when do domination training lol). But I’m really just sick of people in general not taking control of their animals and just not even bothering to learn how. Makes me think dark thoughts lol.

  29. LisaS February 18, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    why get a dog, then? half the reason i want a dog is for it to walk my kids!!

  30. annieology February 19, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    My kids are so going to jail. How bout we punish people who let their dogs run wild? I don’t see how letting one of my six year olds walk a Chihuahua is endangering anyone. Certainly if the dog can tolerate it, so can society.

  31. Wilma February 19, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    I am proud that he showed common sense and humor when dealing with the law.

    To let a dog swim (which is still not forbidden, thankfully) with a leash on is ridiculous. You could drown the poor animal. She cools off after her walk with my son in the water. He wades in, and she retrieves sticks and swims in circles, happy to finally be unleashed and free, if only in the water.

    Our dog is a lab mix and her natural instinct is to go in water. She is walked on her leash all the time in our neighborhood, and known to everyone as a friendly, approachable dog. She has been a best friend to my son since his birth.

    I have to say, having an active pet and keeping it happy and thriving is a lot like raising kids. They need fresh air, play, and of course, lots of love and attention. You can keep you pet(kid) on a short leash, long leash, or off leash at times to give it a taste of freedom. To watch a dog off leash, running freely and playing, is a lot like watching your kids enjoy the simple pleasure of off-leash playing without stupid adults telling them it’s dangerous.

  32. chris February 19, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    NO WAY!

    I had this beautiful old english sheepdog that I just adored, and I walked him from the time I was about 5!
    In fact, I think my mother encouraged me to take him when i went out to play because it gave her peace of mind, knowing nobody would mess with a little girl walking a dog that was bigger than her (and who had the deepest warning bark ever)
    I loved that dog, I would have been gutted to have that rule implemented in my village back then.

  33. Marty February 19, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    we’ve always had well-trained labs, so I’ve always been frosted a bit about leash laws, anyway. there was always some busy body who would walk up to us, our dog would be in a sit or down next to us, and the busy body would almost always chastise us for not having the dog on a leash.
    This town has a long history of running over its citizens…

  34. Stephanie February 19, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    This seems so stupid. I mean, I get that a compentent, responsible person should be walking a dog, but just plain not allowing kids to do so seems arbitrary.

    When I was 9 years old we got a miniature schnauzer that I’d take for walks all the time (AND stop by our elderly neighbors’ house on the way home. AND accept a glass of soda and a treat for the dog while I chatted with them!) and I had no trouble controlling her.

    Now, at 28 years old I have a 55-pound (and seriously strong) English pointer. We didn’t get him until he was 3 years old and he was never trained to walk on a leash. While he’s gotten better, he’s still difficult for me to control, especially if he sees a bird or a squirrel.

    But under this law, the first scenerio would be illegal even though I was clearly better able to control that teeny tiny schnauzer than I can my incredibly strong, hyperactive (but oh-so-lovable!) pointer.

  35. pebblekeeper February 19, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    This happened to me last summer. Lady with an off leash dog on the beach – she is launching a tennis ball with a ball thowing stick for her border collie. My 9 yr old son didn’t see it happening, and my silly dog ran for the ball. Like he was invited to the party. She tensly brought my dog back and gave me the what for. My son felt horrid for “not being able to control his animal”. I assure you nothing happened, I saw the whole quick and sudden thing, her ability to quickly snag my dog, and the un necessary walk 10 feet over to me. Would it be instances like this that would prompt such a bill? How about throw the ball on a less crowded beach bill? Or – if you play with toys in a sandbox be ready to share.

  36. Becca O February 19, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    So I guess kids dog shows are out too. I mean that blue ribbon I won for showing my 140lb Bouvier when I 12 is out because obviously I can’t walk the dog. If the dog and walker are well trained than it won’t matter the size difference. If your still worried use halti or other head lead where the head goes the body will follow just like how you lead a horse.

  37. Jen February 19, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    I’m sorry, but how do two incidents with stray animals require and “adults only” dog walking law? If the dogs are strays, obviously no one was walking them. Sheesh!

  38. coffeegod February 19, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    Virginia is the most intrusive state government I’ve ever experienced. There is a sticker, tag or fee for just about everything but breathing and I’m sure they are trying to remedy that oversight.

    This doesn’t surprise me at all.

  39. Nicola February 19, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Well, the only trouble I see here is that most people let their dogs behave like spoiled little children, thus, letting a child control a dog that thinks it is in control is a bad combination. More people need to listen to the Dog Whisperer.

    If people actually had animals that behaved (and a lot do, they’re not the ones I’m talking about), and a society that didn’t want to sue anything that moved, we probably wouldn’t have ultra stupid laws about dog walkers.

  40. Cheryl W February 19, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    Some dog owners get my goat. Some owners feel that their “baby” is just fine (despite it running down kids on the playground and the owner can’t get it under control for 10 minutes) or letting them poop on my yard and not clean it up, or letting it grab a cookie out of my kid’s hand at the park, or the little chihuahua coming up and peeing on my car tires that I need to change to snow tires…

    Other owners, I just love. They understand that their dog might be scary to some, they bring a leash and are willing to use it. They stay with their dog when the dog is outside so it doesn’t wander off. They have bags in their pockets for when poop happens. They train their dogs, they get appropriate harnesses and leashes. They clean up the poop in their yard so that it doesn’t stink and the neighbors can be outside without tons of flies and stink.

    I understand, per the second posting, about having a person in control of the dog. It makes common sense when on public property to be able to be in voice or physical control of the dog. Appropriate harness (a haltee) can make a large pulling dog into a rather meek non-pulling dog. My dog is an Akbash, and weighs about 90 lbs. With a standard leash, I can hardly control him. With a Haltee, my kids are fine. However, in the event of a dog fight by another dog getting away from the owner, I am letting go of my leash, and have taught my kids to do so as well. I would rather take the dog only to get stitches, and not myself or my kids too, not to mention worrying if the dog has had it’s rabies shots or not.

    Because I do worry about this, I don’t take my dog out around other people a lot. He has a job, and it is to guard our other animals from other dogs and wild animals.

  41. Dee February 19, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    “Actually! Kids shouldn’t walk dog depending on weight. A dogs strength is 3 times its weight. 30 lbs dog needs a least a 90 lbs person to control.”

    Okay, then I shouldn’t be walking my parent’s St. Bernard, who weighs only 10 lbs less than I do.

    Yet, when he decided to test me yesterday and take off, I planted my heels and he did a “sprong!” at the end of his leash.

  42. Uly February 19, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Well, Wilma, it’s not about you, or even about your dog.

    Dogs don’t have human rights for the simple fact that they’re not human. If we got sentient dogs all of a sudden we might change things, but right now we don’t.

    There are plenty of people who are scared of dogs, reasonably or otherwise, who might not want to be confronted with an unleashed dog in an area that is supposed to be safe for them. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been jumped on (or bitten – chihuahuas aren’t “funny” and “cute” just because they’re small, people!) by people’s unleashed dogs and told “Oh, he won’t hurt you!” Maybe not, but he’ll sure make my shirt dirty. And what if he knocked me down, an 80 pound dog jumping on me suddenly like that? What if MY dog (I had one at the time, didn’t get along with other dogs) hurts HIM because YOU don’t have the sense to keep your dog restrained?

    Does your area not have dog parks where your dog is authorized to run free?

    If it’s allowed to be off-leash in the lake, would it not have been more appropriate for your son to say that rather than to make a snippy, snarky remark? Or if it’s not allowed, and you think it should be, isn’t it better to fight the law than just break it? This isn’t exactly a civil rights issue where you should break unjust laws. This is a leash law for dogs.

  43. Tara February 19, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    Define competent. I know plenty of dog owners who aren’t competent! (And I’m not talking about those with a mental diagnosis…)

  44. Tara February 19, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    Oh, and my seven year old makes fifty cents whenever he wants it for walking the neighbor’s dog around our block. 🙂 Glad I live here!

  45. Matt February 19, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    I still fear for a society when we are legislating “competence” for dog-walking but any idiot can walk into a gunshow and get an AR-15.

  46. Jen Connelly February 19, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    Ah, read this after the update was added. As a person that is terrified of dogs…I don’t think this is too bad of a proposal. I remember walking to our local park when I was in high school to see these 2 kids walking a HUGE black dog (some kind of rottweiler mix). The dog was so big and strong it was literally just dragging the kids (both holding the leash) behind him. And he was heading right for the playground full of small kids and he didn’t look like he wanted to lick their faces.
    I just froze. Finally the boys were able to stop him but it took all their strength to try and pull him in the opposite direction and he kept knocking them down and trying to get to the little kids.
    There is NO way those 2 should have been walking that huge dog.
    But, then again, sometimes it doesn’t matter. I was out walking our lab mix puppy when I was 14 or so and she got lose so I was following her up and down the streets trying to corral her. A neighborhood guy (that I had seen around for years) was walking his pit mix dog across the street. He has always had perfect control of his dog in all the years I had seen him out and about until this day. The dog just bolted from his grasp and took off after my puppy who eventually darted into traffic to get away and was killed. The guy then had to go chase after the dog.

  47. Marie February 19, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Glad to hear they aren’t actually specifying an age. I walked my dog as a kid and sure, he was hard to control sometimes, but it was possible. It was the adults who had their dog on one of those extending leashes in their front yard I had a problem with. Dog ran around me on the sidewalk, leash wrapping behind my knees, knocking me over and giving me a bit of rope burn on the back of my knees. Much more of a problem than a kid walking a dog most of the time.

  48. EricS February 19, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    That’s such a typical thing to think and say for people who don’t understand the psychology of dogs. Anyone who understands dogs, knows that it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s your frame of mind and energy that you give off. Watch a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer and they’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

    I use his techniques to train both my dogs, and it works. My nephew (4 yrs) has a 150 lb Rotty, who he bosses around. Not pick on, but controls. He correct him when he he’s misbehaving or doing something my nephew doesn’t like or something he’s not suppose to be doing. And he listens ALL the time. He never pulls my nephew when we walk him. In fact, he uses the same treatment on my dogs (smaller 25 lbs), and they listen to him too.

    There are no such thing as a “bad dog”, just owners who don’t know how to train and deal with their dogs. What they think is affection and caring, is often a reinforcement of bad behaviors. ie. when a dog is hyper, wagging his tail, and jumping up at you, he’s not happy to see you. He’s overly excited. So when you go “hey baby” and start petting and playing with them when they are like this, your actually encouraging that behavior. Which turns into unruliness when not corrected. Despite what many people think, your dog’s feelings don’t get hurt when you don’t acknowledge them when they are like that (or when they are doing something that’s negative). Dogs need structure and leadership. It may seem like your bossing them around and being “mean”, but really, they prefer and need that leadership from you. Otherwise they take it upon themselves to dominate over their owners, and they really don’t know how to do that. Which is why you see all these dogs who seem uncontrollable.

    Much like FR upbringing. You teach them what they can and cannot do, how to be around others, how to deal with certain situations. Once they know all of this, then you give them affection and let them be kids. Or in the case of this thread…a dog.

  49. Stephanie February 19, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    So glad to see this update! But I do feel like there would be some sort of law in place to address this problem anyway. I know that in the area where I live and work, there are ordinances in place to address situations like this. I forget the exact phrasing but it’s something along the lines of “proper confinement of dogs.” I could be mistaken, but I suspect if someone let go of their dog’s leash, even by accident, and the dog injured someone or damaged property as a result, the owner/dog walker could be cited violating that ordinance.

  50. molly February 19, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    How will they know who’s responsible? My neighbor is an adult and she’s a total dog idiot. She has three and she can’t walk them to save her life. She lives three houses from the corner and I’ve seen her get frustrated and give up before making it to the corner. I’ve offered some suggestions but she hasn’t changed anything. Meanwhile, I think that my toddler could control our 90lb dog better than my neighbor can control one of her 10lb dogs. Not that my toddler is going to walk our dogs solo, but she can handle them, YKWIM.

  51. EricS February 19, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    @ Stephanie: I think that’s a common by-law every where. The dog handler is responsible for their pet. We are suppose to have a leash on our dogs when we walk them, but there are some people who have very well trained dogs, that no matter what happens, the dog never leaves the owner’s side even off leash. Because it is a by-law, sometimes it’s enforced, sometimes it’s not. Just like j-walking. But injury to another person because your dog attacked, is a more serious offence.

    @ molly: It’s not the dog(s), it’s the owner. If you have an anxious, insecure, fearful and stressed out owner, there is VERY good chance their pet will be the same way. That’s why you see a lot of dogs chilled out around kids, because the kids don’t feel that stress and therefore doesn’t feed it back to the dog. Just like with kids, dogs aren’t born dumb, and incapable. But they do learn by example. So if you teach them negative things (whether you realize it or not), that’s how they will react to every day situations. If you teach them discipline, and empower them with a sense of confidence, that’s how they will be as well.

  52. Mthousemama February 19, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Glad it is common sense but how sad is it that we have to have a law that states it?

  53. Marty February 19, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    Matt- ‘I still fear for a society when we are legislating “competence” for dog-walking but any idiot can walk into a gunshow and get an AR-15.’

    is your point that you feel we need stricter gun laws? are you arguing for less legislation on one hand and more on the other? Are you trying to turn this into a gun or 2nd amendment argument?

  54. oncefallendotcom February 19, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    Depending on the size of the dog, dog walks you instead. My stepdad was 6 feet 200 pounds. Our Chinese chows took HIM for a walk.

  55. E. Simms February 19, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    The problem with laws like this is that the lawmakers who propose them don’t have the foresight to wonder how the law will be enforced.

    What are they planning to do, arm patrol officers with a chart and a scale so they can stop and weigh children and their dogs to see if they have the right kid to dog weight ratio? While they’re at it, give the officer a tape measure so he can calculate the kids’ BMI as well and cite the parents for neglect if the BMI is too high.

    Wait, maybe the officer can just stop kids whose dog got away from them (even if through no fault of their own), or kids whose dogs are pulling too hard, or better yet, stop kids they don’t like for some other reason and cite them under this law.

    Ok, enough rambling. My point is that this law is so vague it allows the police too much discretion. In the event the police even bother to try to enforce it, the city will end up spending a fortune on litigation because of a few overzealous cops.

    We need to stop making laws that mandate absolute perfection in every endeavor.

  56. maternity tee girl February 19, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    HOW are they EVER going to enforce such a law? Who’s to say how competent you must bc to walk a dog and how will they measure if someone has broken that law? “Um, excuse me, miss…you’ve had WAY too much caffeine today to be walking a dog…I’m gonna have to bring you down to the station…” uh huh.

  57. Virginie February 19, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    I wish all dog walkers had control over their dogs. My kids are almost 2 and just turned 3, and we’ve had several cases were dogs got loose and ran them over or jumped on them, not to hurt them but to play. Most dog handlers were adults, though, who apologized, but still. I agree with others that the problem might reside with the owners, not the dog.

  58. Bee February 19, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    As a 175-pound woman with the sturdy build of your ideal Oregon Trail pioneer wife, I still managed to lose control of Sarah, my exceptionally strong and ridiculously friendly pit bull. So the next time I took her out, I held on tighter. I don’t need a law to tell me that.

  59. Lisa February 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Even after your update, its still a dumb law. What a waste of time. Does government need to regulate everything??? No, I don’t want a stray pit bull attacking me but how often does that happen? Sheesh.

  60. N February 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    This makes me so mad. part of my enjoyment as a child was to walk my dog. Early on in my childhood there were no leash laws, but people did not act like maniacs if a dog should come near them. This world has gotten so insane with so many laws. I do understand that if the dog is terribly large that it should be walked by an adult, but I never have had a dog be aggressive to other humans when on a leash.

  61. Sera February 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Uh, yeah. Obviously. If someone is walking a dog they must be large and strong enough to control said dog. If you’ve got a kid who weighs the same as the dog, no dice. If the dog decides to run across the road, or chase a person/animal/bike/car, the kid gets dragged off its feet.

  62. Emiky February 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Very nice update, though I’m not pleased with the original reporter. Sensationalism, clearly.

    The law is reasonable, though it seems an enforcement of common sense.

    EricS, I apreciate your view of dog training. I’m an animal lover who doesn’t mind at all when someone’s excited dog jumps at me. Yet everytime the owner calls the dog back for management and apologizes. I still say it’s no problem, but I see it’s about the dog and owner and obedience. I might enjoy a dog jumping at me, but not everyone does.

  63. Staceyjw aka escaped to mexico February 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    I think this is one rule I can get behind,as it makes lots of sense, as long as its not so specific that a teen walking a chihuahua becomes an issue.

    I hope that in Addition to a fine, the walker and the dogs owner (both, if not the same)would be required to attend a dog training class. Multiple offenses would require passing that class, community service at the dog shelter, and more fines. (now, if we could get stricter BARKING laws…… )

    I know I HATE when I see giant pit bulls or other huge, dog-aggressive breeds* being walked by someone who can barely control them. I use to see this a lot (until I moved), especially at the beach. Its pretty scary when you’ve got a baby or small dog with you, and these barely controlled dogs start acting up. I have seen owners getting knocked over by their dogs when their dog lunged or tried to chase another dog.

    (* dog aggressive= a breed that is commonly aggressive towards other dogs, but not people. Pit bulls are one such breed)

  64. pentamom February 19, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    “No, I don’t want a stray pit bull attacking me but how often does that happen?”

    If memory serves, about once a year in my city of 100,000. (Not just stray pit bulls, but stray or improperly restrained dogs, badly enough to make the newspaper and send somebody to the hospital.) That’s often enough to create some structure by which people can be fined/punished for out of control dogs, as a deterrent.

  65. Marty February 20, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    people keep slamming pit bulls- these used to be the most popular dog for pets in the country… fantastic dogs!

  66. dmd February 20, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    I reported earlier about how I don’t let my son walk our dog because she is such a flight risk. Well, we walked the dog together last night and I told him about the law (well…what we thought was the law) and he said: That’s a stupid law. LOL. And…I did end up letting him walk to dog, under strict rules (2 hands on the leash, the handle through his arm, with me right there). I had to remind him that I trust him…not our dog!

  67. kherbert February 20, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    Are some of you being deliberately dense? The concept of owner must be in control of animal at all times is fairly basic. In animal attacks I am fully in favor of the humans responsible being punished instead of the animal destroyed. Usually a human is at fault.

    A neighbor brought my sister home one evening. She pretty much had skinned up one side of her body. Mom cleaned her up – Dad and I went out to get our friend’s dog that we were dog sitting. Sis had snuck out to take the dog 1/2 as tall as her for a walk, wrapped the leash around her hand, and been dragged down the street by the dog.

    Neighbors were outraged we didn’t demand friend put the dog down after “what he did”. My parents being sane punished sis. She was grounded, informed she had endangered the puppy’s life, and got a tetanus booster. She had to miss several softball games after the grounding was over – because officials felt she couldn’t play without ripping open the healing wounds. My parents attitude your the one who is responsible for what happened you pay the piper.

    Another time she was playing with a neighbor’s irish setter. She was pretending to throw the squeaky toy but holding on to it. Dad told her to stop teasing the dog. Sis threw the toy but kept her hand up like she still had it. The dog was fooled and jumped up to get it, her paws landed on sisters shoulder. She slid down sis’s front and sis’s shirt was shredded. Dad grabbed sis and got between them, neighbor grabbed the dog.

    Dad realized that only the shirt was damaged and sis wasn’t scratched. He flipped her around and administered sis’s one and only spanking. Sis was made to apologize to the neighbor and marched home still shirtless. She spent the rest of the day in her room thinking about what could have happened.

    Mom made the neighbor cookies as an apology.

  68. Cheryl W February 20, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    One other thing I wonder about this is, if the owner(s) of the dog do the appropriate training (or know how to do it themselves) and have the dog under voice control, does that count?

    I have seen some pretty small (happened to be female) police officers with very large dogs that would not qualify for the 3 times the weight. The dogs however, and the officers, were very well trained and the dogs did not technically need to be on leash because they ALWAYS obey.

  69. Sky February 20, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Do irresponsible adults bother to walk their dogs?

  70. Donna February 20, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    This is what our legislatures are wasting their time with? Really? We have no bigger problems?

    I’m all for people taking responsibility for their pets but current laws will cover a dog who gets away from an incompetent walker and harms someone or himself. This law adds nothing.

    You can’t tell if a walker is incompetent by size alone. My 31 lb 5 year old competently walks our 25 lb dog but she might not be competent to walk a 10 lb dog. My dog is extremely well-behaved. Anyone could walk him. A hyper dog that reacted negatively to other dogs or people would not be a good match for her regardless of size.

  71. Sera February 20, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    @ kherbert –

    Unfortunately, in our society we now view pets as disposable toys rather than living creatures just like us. All a dog needs to do is injure one person to any extent and the dog is then killed. This is why absolute control of your dog at all times in public places is necessary. The animal doesn’t even need to be aggressive in any way – large dogs are powerful and heavy, small dogs are scrabbly and scratchy. Even excited playing can lead to a few injuries for a small child (or hell, even an adult in an unwise situation).

    Everybody, wake up and listen.

    One mistake on the part of the handler, one injury dealt to a human being by a dog, and the dog can be taken away and killed. Animals are not disposable toys for you to use and then murder when they become irritating, difficult, or inconvenient, or they make a mistake. Animals are living creatures just like you and your children. Their lives matter as much to them as yours do to you. Therefore, do everything you can to keep them making any harmful mistakes.

  72. BobB February 20, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Here is my dog walking pet peeve (pun intended). I am a regular cyclist/ user of multi use trails in my area. Many dog owners use those 25′ long retractable leashes. Dogs are often naturally inclined to chase or confront cyclists. There is never reaction time adequate to retract the leash to provide control. A couple of times the owner has benn of the left side while the dog goes to the right. Between them they inadvertantly construct a trip wire. Luckily I have exceptional brakes and have avoided an accident so far. I understand it is a way for the dog to roam fairly freely while you still have a tether but it easily becomes a danger to others in a matter of seconds.

  73. JP Merzetti February 21, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    I believe it is in that curious tombe, “Sex and Destiny”, by none other than Germaine Greer herself, that she discusses in one particular chapter – this curious division of realities known to the western “civilized” world…that we must needs forever banish our children from active involvment in our affairs, in order to protect them and ourselves, from consequences.
    – which is just great, apparently.

    In spite of the fact that we have somehow managed to reinvent our fair society in wondrous ways, we have also managed to make it considerably child-unfriendly, though we would collectively yell long and loud that we have in fact, done the exact opposite.

    A “simple” society just sort of knows how to integrate its youngsters into the fabric of life, with seemingly, no big deal.
    Meanwhile we haven’t a clue, and are heading quickly in the opposite direction.
    We have cast out the devils of simplicity, and replaced them with angels of complexity.

    Bully for us.

    I dunno………the family dog useta be a gorgeous opportunity for a kid to learn some basic stuff, about feeding, walking, caring in sundy ways for a loved member of the family. A trusted buddy who provided adoration, protection, enjoyment, fun, laughs galore and just all that good old wholesome stuff that was exactly why people bothered to add a dog into the mix, in the first place.

    So now the thinking is to further divide the labor up, and ban kids from partaking? Wow.
    Maybe they should tackle it from the other end…
    How about having the dog fix them breakfast? Do their homework? Launder their clothes?
    Absurd, of course….that’s not what pooch is there for.
    Um, just exactly WHAT are the kids there for?

  74. JP Merzetti February 21, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Okay, I have to come back for a second round.
    Sure are a lot of changes in our sorry world.
    Is it the kids? Is it the dogs? Is it the environment?

    When I was a kid, kids didn’t walk dogs.
    Dogs “accompanied” kids (leashless)everywhere they went. Big difference.
    My dog wore a leash once in his life. That was boarding a public city bus (which he had ridden with me hundreds of times) and the bus driver demanded a leash…so I used my scarf. Worked for me, the dog, and the driver.
    Meanwhile everyone else on the bus busied themselves falling in love with my dog, as usual (he was cute loveable, and well-mannered) and it was just another normal state of affairs.

    The reason I grew up not hating dogs, not fearing dogs, is because of two things: I learned proper respect (mostly from my Dad – and a bit from the dogs themselves) and also, because I had oodles of hands-on experience.

    Apparently, in our just-in-time quick instant profit gratification times, this is no longer possible?
    There’s no learning curve anymore?

    Cyclists, pedestrians, vehicular traffic….hell, strollers, babies, and green-eyed Martians used to navigate the public sphere, along with canine participants, with no apparent problem.
    Were dogs smarter then? Were we?

    Has a dog become commodified? Has pooch succumber inexorably into yet again one more legal liability profit opportunity for agents of law and order, courts and criminal? Yecchhhh.

    Funny thing…in my little town, a vast population of dogs live their lives now, child-free (because that’s what their owners are.)
    Legions of kids are growing up without the experience, for various reasons.
    This may have something to do with public attitudes.
    When I was a kid, dog-fearers were strange, eccentric, rare persons. Now they are very, very common. Obviously, there is a reason for that.
    Trained killer dogs aside, poorly trained or untrained dogs aside, incorrigible overbred pathetic excuses for dogs aside…..that still leaves a planetary population of dogs left over, who don’t fit the picture.

    I don’t know that our world has become dog-unfriendly, so much…..
    It’s the business of connecting a dog up to a kid, that seems to be our problem now.

    Dogs and kids.
    That used to be a match made in heaven, absolutely.
    Now, I’m not so sure….but I think if you were to ask the kids and dogs themselves – they’d tell you that a divorce isn’t exactly in their picture.
    Hell. We’re big and smart, and we can’t figure this out?
    Shame on us.

  75. Kimberly February 21, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    @Sera You and I are on the same page. I think the human responsible for the animal should be the one held responsible instead of the animal.

  76. Agammamon February 21, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    “. . .and he says that it does NOT specify an age that the dog walker has to be. Only that the walker be competent! . . ”

    Their are already plenty of laws prohibiting your dog from running wild and hurting others in addition to arbitration/lawsuits to cover lesser damages from loose pets.

    All this law is, is a “I have to be seen to do something” law to cover this politicians ass. And with no clear standard how are you supposed to know if you are in compliance with the law? I’m sure that there is pretty much no one in the country who would not consider themselves competent to walk a dog.

  77. Chris Gould February 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    why not help the kid who is walking his dog and having trouble, instead of calling the police or local councilman? What a waste! I like your free range attitude!

  78. pentamom February 23, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    “I’m sure that there is pretty much no one in the country who would not consider themselves competent to walk a dog.”

    Not everyone lacks all sense of personal limitation. I know I could not walk a large, strong, less than perfectly trained dog in a way that would be certain to be safe in any situation. I am not physically large or strong and I did not grow up with dogs and do not have much of a rapport with them. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t really know how to make them respond to me. I’m sure there are many others in the world like me. OTOH, if my husband’s aunt gave me the leash of one of her little 6 pound fluffballs while we were out for a walk, I’m sure I could handle it. There are reasonable judgments that people can, and do, make.

    Further, parents are in a position to make a judgment about whether a particular kid is capable of walking a particular dog.

    So whether this is a good law or bad, I don’t think there’s any basis for saying that no one would ever consider that they shouldn’t walk a dog, or let another particular person walk a dog, because they couldn’t control the dog well enough to be safe.

  79. Christine February 23, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    I am a distance runner, training for a half marathon, running all over my small town. I no longer take my leashed dog with me, because he has been attacked twice by unleashed ‘well behaved’ dogs that their owners couldn’t be bothered to control.

    I carry pepper spray now, and if your unleashed dog charges me, I will spray it in the face. I will not wait until you call your dog 10 times, explain that he’s ‘just playing’ or ask your dog what his intentions are. He gets sprayed. Sorry.

    I love dogs, and I surely don’t relish the idea of causing pain to any animal. But seriously. I’m not doing the rabies shots again.

  80. pornis February 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

  81. Erock June 1, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    Its not even all about weight to strenght. My niece that prolly weighs 60 pounds walks my 120 pound newfoundland with not one single issue. According to the idea of you need to be three times the weight of the dog that means i need to be 360 pounds to control my dog. There is no clear answer just use common sense. I have another 80 pound dog that only i walk because he does pull.

  82. Warren September 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Late to the party, as usual.

    @Uly, I hate to burst your bubble, but dogs are sentient.

    I had a situation, in Ontario. I worked shift work and would be home around 2am. I would walk my well behaved German Shep down to the local park, and we would play fetch. We were the only two souls there. A by-law enforcement officer just happen to be out and about. Instead of listening to my logic, she ripped my head off, for not leashing my dog. I had the leash in hand, for the walk to and from the park. Her complete rudeness was answered by, “Does your husband leash you when you leave the house?”.

    $80.00 fine thrown out by the justice, citing “I was obeying the spirit of the law, even if I bent the letter of the law.”