About 50 or so residents attended the first community meeting at Louise Van Meter Elementary School to discuss the
When a few moms raised concerns over child safety, one person who was for the off-leash pilot suggested with a tinge of sarcasm that a fence be built around the children's playground.
Another person who was against the pilot feared the soil may become contaminated from feces.
As I expected, there were a lot of statements that began with the words "my dog," and when the off-leash group was asked why they just couldn't use the Los Gatos Creek Trail Dog Park, one person said it was because there was no parking.
One thing is clear when it comes to dogs, people are passionate. I am not passionate about poop not picked up or doggy socials. I am passionate about the safety of children in the presence of dogs.
At approximately 320 pounds per square inch, a dog's jaw can tear through tissue and muscle at lightening speed leaving permanent scars and nerve damage. There is NO human fast enough to prevent a dog from making contact once it has committed to bite.
Dogs also at risk: It's not just the children who are at risk here. If dogs are legally allowed off-leash in our parks, these locations will be published on dozens of private dog park directory websites.
Let’s say an out-of-towner shows up with an intact male dog who fights other male dogs and they're told never to return. Mysteriously dogs are turning up ill or dead—likely from eating poisoned meat. Call me paranoid ... but would I take my dog to one of the parks? Absolutely not! Rat Poison Left at Dog Park in Sunnyvale.
Fact: The domestic dog, whether Chihuahua or Golden Retriever, share 99.8 percent DNA with the Gray Wolf. Instincts before dogs ate kibble and lived in pampered homes, if dogs didn't hunt, they didn't survive.
Some rescue dogs that have lived on the streets can be very prone to chasing and food aggression. These dogs are unsafe to be around playing children and children with food.
To aid in hunting, a dog's visual system is highly attuned to detecting movement. Some dogs switch from play to predatory aggression when a child runs away from them.
A child's high-pitched scream, flailing arms, or rolling on the ground, can also trigger a predatory attack. People need to understand that small individuals, whether a cat, a squirrel, or a toddler can look like prey to some dogs so it should be no surprise when a 10-pound dog is attacked and killed by a larger dog.
Children have been seriously mauled, and on rare occasion killed while trying to run away from predatory dogs. The book Fatal Dog Attacks chronicles real cases of cases where adults and children are killed by predatory dogs. These type of attacks are more common when there are multiple dogs operating as a pack or pairs.
Many dogs also like to chase people on bicycles and skateboards. Once they catch up to a person on wheels, dogs often nip and bite at the rider causing the person to crash. Serious head injuries can occur when overly exuberant dogs knock children to the ground.
In 2009 Beverly Head, of San Jose, died from a brain injury when she was tripped by a flexi-lead. San Jose has since passed a no flexi-leash law.
How to avoid getting bit by a dog?
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one who's tied or confined behind a fence or in a car.
- Don't pet a dog—even your own—without letting him see and sniff you first.
- Never turn your back to a dog and run away. A dog's natural instinct will be to chase and catch you.
- Don't disturb a dog while she's sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies.
- Be cautious around strange dogs.
Benefit vs. risk: I understand that dog owners would like to keep their dogs healthy and fit. Like humans, dogs need to maintain muscle tone, control their weight, and interact with their own species.
However, "experimenting" with dogs off-leash for the sake of a few residents who don't want to walk their dogs to exercise them, or drive them to the proper dog park is hardly worth risking the safety of human beings.
What I don't understand is why Los Gatos can build a multimillion dollar sports park, yet cannot figure out a way, with the help of the community, to raise funds for a proper dog park.
This is an excellent short video every parent should watch by the American Veterinary Medical Association on teaching children W.A.I.T. (Wait, Ask, Invite, Touch)
The next community meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 9 at Louise Van Meter Elementary School. People can also voice their opinions to the Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.