Lately, I've been seeing folks walking their dogs while carrying the leash around their necks, instead of putting it on the dog. If they're going to flout the law (which was designed to protect the dog), why don't they just leave the leash at home? —Paul P.
Somehow, Paul, I don't think you're that concerned with streamlining other people's dog-walking process. I think your real question is part of a larger query I get fairly often: Why is everyone such an asshole?
I don't own a dog—to me, it seems a lot like paying a really stupid person to follow you around and tell you you're awesome every 30 seconds. Also, you have to feed this person, you can never fire them, and at least once a day they shit in your hand.
But that's just me! In any case, the main drawback to having a dog isn't its obsequious personality, it's that, like a child or a BDSM slave, having one is a big responsibility.
And, just as with children (and probably BDSM slaves), there are people who think they can beat the system by totally abdicating that responsibility.
That, of course, is just what your leash-law violators are doing. I could not find a single veterinarian, animal behaviorist, trainer or dog whisperer who thinks leash laws are a bad idea.
Violators of the leash law (and the scoop law) can be cited and fined $150, but since enforcement falls to the 14 employees of Multnomah County Animal Services (versus 700,000 county residents), it doesn't happen often.
Even if your dog is completely chill (which it probably isn't), off-leash dogs can traumatize on-leash dogs, which may be dog-aggressive, highly strung or suffering from PTSD from the previous off-leash dog that wasn't chill.
There are probably some dogs that really would be OK without a leash—but the type of person whose dog is this well trained is also the type who obeys leash laws.
Meanwhile, the type who ignores these laws is exactly the sort whose dog is a behavioral train wreck. They're also the kind who let their kids run wild in restaurants (and God only knows what they do with their BDSM slaves), but that's another story.