If you think you’re being a good citizen or a good dog owner by putting your dog on a retractable leash, you might want to think again. I may have agreed with you yesterday, but after what I saw today, I realized I would never walk my dog on a retractable leash. These retractable leashes may seem like a good idea. A win/win. You follow leash laws, and the dog still has some freedom. Not so much. Let me tell you the story of what I just witnesses in Pleasant Valley today.

We were traveling west on Route 44 in Pleasant Valley. The car in front of us was making a right hand turn onto North Avenue, and we were also making that right. A few seconds after he turned, the driver in front of us slammed on his brakes and came to a screeching stop. Luckily, we were able to stop on time and not hit the car in front of us. What happened? Why the sudden stop? I’ll tell you.

It seems there was a guy on the sidewalk walking his dog. The guy was on the sidewalk, but the dog, who was on a retractable leash, was not. The dog had plenty of room on that leash to dart into the road, and that’s exactly what happened. If the driver in front of us hadn’t had such quick reflexes (and good brakes) the dog surely would have been hit. The leash did nothing to keep the dog out of danger. That means the owner does not have the control over the dog that is needed to keep everyone safe. What if there was a small child walking nearby? The dog on a retractable leash could easily reach the child before you can stop it from doing harm.

I’m sure that there is a time and place for retractable leashes, but I don’t think walking your dog around people and cars is the right time or place. For the safety of others and your dog, please do us all a favor. Reconsider that retractable leash. I’m sure you want to make your dog happy, but keeping your dog safe is just as important.

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