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Dog owners need to obey city’s leash ordinance

When I left home at 5:30 a.m. Monday, I had no idea that within 15 minutes, I would be lying on the ground and fighting off a vicious dog attack, but that’s exactly where I found myself.

I started on a morning run into downtown Danville. I made my way across the campus of Centre College and turned onto Walnut Street. I noticed several other people out for a walk or run, and with the nice temperature that was no surprise.

As most runners do, I had music playing in my earphones as I went on my way. I left the edge of campus and continued up Walnut Street between Church and Fourth streets. Suddenly, just at my right side within a few feet of me was a vicious dog, barking and growling as it ran closer and closer to me. I was taken completely by surprise, and as I tried to retreat I fell backward onto the ground. The dog stayed near me and came closer, getting so close that I had to kick it a couple of times to keep it away from me.

Fortunately, there was another runner whom I had just passed along the street a few yards back. She came to the area where I was and got the dog’s attention, getting it away from me.

A person I assume to be the dog’s owner walked up and acted as if this was no big deal. He told me the dog wouldn’t bite, and as the conversation went on, I was even asked sarcastically if I was bleeding.

Well, to be honest, yes. My palms were bleeding a bit from the fall on the sidewalk. Still, I was, fortunately, able to get back on my feet after the owner got his dog and continued down the street.

I don’t know who the other runner was, but I am very thankful she was there. If not, my situation could have been much worse.

The city of Danville does have an ordinance pertaining to the control of all dogs. To paraphrase, the ordinance states that every owner shall keep a dog under control and that reasonable care and precautions should be taken to prevent the dog from leaving the owner’s property. As for leashes, the ordinance goes on to say the dog must be under the control of a competent person, or if off its lead or leash, it must be obedient to the commands of a person present with the animal at any time it is not restrained.

Honestly, things happened so quickly that I can’t say whether the owner in this situation gave commands to the dog. I can say that if they were given, the dog did not listen. It did continue at me, and as I lay on the ground, stayed at my feet as I tried to back away, all the while kicking at it to hopefully get it to leave.

Many people consider themselves to be law-abiding citizens, but some still don’t bother to follow “the little laws” or ordinances like the city’s dog ordinance. Although it may not seem like a big deal to a dog owner, and they may think the dog will not bite, there is no guarantee what an animal will do when it is not under control.

As a dog lover and longtime dog owner, I hope people will keep their dogs on a leash for the safety of others, as well as the safety of the dogs when in public.