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Do Tell: Reprimanding Other Dog Owners?

Last night I enjoyed a relaxing evening with some friends at one of our fave wine bars. It's in an old warehouse-type space so the windows are not at street – or seat – level. As we're chatting at our table by the door, I happened to look up as someone was coming in and saw a beautiful, fluffy Golden Retriever tied to a parking meter. Eeks! It gets pretty chilly here in SF at night and I certainly wouldn't want to sit outside. And, of course, once we spotted the pooch, we couldn't take our eyes off of her – each time someone came into the place, we would check to see if the dog was still there. It was at least 40 minutes from when we first noticed her to when we left . . . and, sure enough, she was still there when we walked out. To hear the rest,


It made me very upset that someone would feel the need to take their dog and tie her out while they were apparently enjoying what was much more than one quick drink. I couldn't understand why they didn't just leave Kona (yup, I checked the tag) at home! After pondering the possible actions we could take ranging from going back in and talking to the bartender to calling the phone number on the tag, I couldn't bring myself to start an altercation. Yes, my interpretation was that it was too cold to leave a dog sitting outside and that it was a mean thing to do (in addition to being borderline illegal), but who am I to tell other people how to treat their pets. Right? I got home and couldn't get this pup off my mind, so tell me – how would you have handled this situation?


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chancleta chancleta 7 years
i think there's a lot of variables that need to be be taken in to account 1. if it's cold: does the dog have a good coat that keeps him warm? example: leaving a chihuahua outside is different from a lab or retriever who naturally grown thick winter coats 2. if it's hot outside: does the dog have proper shade and water? 3. is the dog in a safe place where he can't be hit by cars or passerbys? 4. if the dog is in a car: is it hot outside? is the ac on? my husband and i use our wireless remote to start the car and leave the ac running (with the doors locked) while we run in to a store. 5. all these things depend. my black lab would much rather be tied outside a restaurant watching people cruise by then alone at home. it's not the act of leaving your dog alone tied to a pole that's wrong - it's weather or not your meeting his needs (i.e. making sure he's warm when it's cold or has shade and water when it's hot) 6. but hey i feel ya. i would have done the same. i probably would have gone a step further and brought the dog a bowl of water.
ladyr ladyr 7 years
I would not be worried about the dog being cold in SF, and it did not sound like the dog was distressed, but it is not safe to leave your dog tied outside for a long period of time because they could be stolen or harassed. Running into a coffee shop or store real quick while you are out and about with your dog is ok. It's great to get them out in the world when it makes sense. Also, if you are not 100% sure that your dog will not get scared and bite a stranger who tries to pet them when you are not there, then you are risking a lawsuit and possibly risking your pet being ordered to be put down, which would be awful. If you are worried about an animal, you should always call animal control and not the police. Better to let a professional handle it in some cases rather than yourself. Them temporarily seizing the animal, making them pay a fine, or the officer talking to the owner about the danger they are putting their pet in may be a better deterrent. I have called animal control to come pick up my neighbor's dog several times. I know he has tags, so I know they will get him back, but they have to pay a fee and go pick him up each time. They have a broken gate and they don't fix it because they know their dog stays around the neighborhood and he is friendly, but I have personally witnessed him almost being hit by a car. So I let the authorities deal with it, instead of starting an issue with my neighbor, and I just hope that they will get a clue. I think it is only necessary to say something to a pet owner if you see that an animal (or person) is in immediate danger. It is also good to back up other pet owners if you witness an incident. One time I was at the park with my two dogs, and this dog was absolutely harassing my tiny 9 lb dog. Not just playing rough, I mean he was repeatedly tackling her, and knocking her to the ground. I picked her up because the owner wasn't doing anything about it and the dog wouldn't leave her alone. Instead of apologizing for his pet, the owner told me that I shouldn't pick up my dog because she will become insecure (normally I would have let her work it out if she was not in danger, but this was extreme and she was very afraid). Several other people in the park spoke up for me, which was very helpful because the guy kinda caught me off guard and I didn't know what to say. After I picked her up, his dog was following me around trying to jump up and grab her. The other people were giving him dirty looks for not correcting the dog, so he finally grabbed it and as he walked away he said "come on, these people don't like you." He seriously didn't get it!
j4everlasting j4everlasting 7 years
I personally don't think leaving a dog like a golden retriever out doors when it's chilly out, I do I have problem with the person tieing the dog up though. I personally don't believe dogs should ever be left unattended when they're tied up. As someone else mentionned, you never know what another person or animal might do to the pet, when it's unattended. I live in Canada, where in the winters it gets pretty darn chilly outside. My large mutt dog LOVES being outside in that type of weather. He'll play outside in the backyard for hours without a problem (he always has the choice to come back indoors, he just has to do his tell tale jumping on the backdoor). His coat was built for cold outdoor weather, as is a golden's. Therefore, as I said before, I see nothing wrong with being outdoors when it's chilly out. As for the people who are talking about dogs in a car (unattended) on a hot day. Personally I would call the SPCA or animal control. It is animal cruelty and the people will probably loose their pet for their 'good intentions'. A pet can die in a matter of a couple of minutes on a hot day in a car, even with the windows cracked and available water. It's just too darn hot in there for them. You wouldn't leave your child unattanded in a hot car, so why leave your dog?
heidijoy heidijoy 7 years
I have a pug/chihuahua mix that doesn't like other breeds at all. We were at the vet's office for a routine checkup and this elderly woman was letting her Maltese just run all over the place, even though I asked her twice not to because my dog wasn't friendly. It finally took a staff member telling her to pick up her dog's leash for her to do it. Common sense says to hold on to your dog when you're in the vet's office.
seishi5 seishi5 7 years
Dogs are not children. I don't think it's negligent to leave a dog in a car in cool weather with ventilation for awhile or to tether a dog outside. The golden retriever you saw was not in distress. Dogs that are very attached (but not separation anxiety) to their people like going places and don't mind waiting. I have a working Belgian Malinois and he is so used to the vehicle. It's like a big crate to him. I would not tether him anywhere because I am afraid of someone stealing him. Even if they were stealing him to "help" him like some people here suggested. How awful! Dogs are dogs! they have fur coats and don't need to be treated like children!
7kimba7 7kimba7 7 years
caterpillargirl.. "that will be me being me" HAHAHAHAHA
Katydid620 Katydid620 7 years
This topic fires me up!! In this situation I probably would have sat with the dog and waited until the owner came out and would let them know what I thought of them. I'm sure it would not have gone well. Sadly, At the local super Wal-mart by me I see dogs left in cars SO often. If the weather is nice I can look the other way, but here in Pennsylvania our winters are so COLD and our summers are HOT. There was this one time I saw 2 dogs (one was in a carrier, the other loose) and a bird (?I know?) in a car on a VERY hot day. It was in the 90's and the car was in full sun in the parking lot. Yes, 2 windows were cracked about an inch...I went in the store for them to call them over the intercoms but they wouldn't. They said they couldnt get involved. They told me to call the police. So I did. About an hour later, still no cops. At this point there was about 10 other customers with me, we were pouring water in the cracked windows, one women was trying to unlock the doors with a stick. When the cops finally arrived they told us they could have arrested us if we opened the doors or broke the windows (which we were about to do). Because they had the windows cracked they were completely within the law. The cop got an attitude with us!!! Well, when they owners finally came slowly shuffling out with their full cart of groceries they literally were attacked verbally. I actually stepped back it got so out of hand. He was screaming at us they were fine and to mind our own business. Other people got involved defended them and others agreeing with us. It got scary! BUT I will absolutley do it again. I love animals especially dogs and it kills me when I see them in such horrible situations.Sorry this was SOOOO long, but this topic just hit a nerve...
ranksubjugation ranksubjugation 7 years
Yeah, unless it's something obviously neglectful, I don't think it's anyone's place to chime in. However, if it does look neglectful, you can't NOT try to help.
backfat backfat 7 years
SF, a heavy coated dog like a Golden Retriever, not a big deal. If you had said Boston, I'd be more upset. They have a very heavy coat. I'd be more concerned about a dog in a hot car than a dog tied to post on a chilly evening.
shmoo15 shmoo15 7 years
Alright, so it's definitely not cool to keep your dog tied up outside for a long period of time...but you have to consider the situation, the dog, and the owner. My golden retriever prefers to be outside. Loves it. Begs for it in the coldest of weather. So if the weather alone is what made you mad, then think again. Dogs have coats for a reason. If the dog was in a stuffy car for 40 minutes I would absolutely say something. A hot car with the windows up is no place for a dog. But from my experience the dogs tied up outside usually don't seem too bummed about it...unless they're chained up in their own yard.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
We have alot of irresponsible pet owners in my complex, most recently a guy moved in and he has two persians, who he lets just roam around at night. They have taken to crawling up our courtyard door and peeing and pooing in my courtyard, because they see our three cats in the windows and they want to mark the place....I have told him this and he said "cats will be cats" well i guess when i pelt them with my shoe that will be me being me.
steamboatdog steamboatdog 7 years
First off, I think it depends on the type of dog. Its a golden retriever, which has very thick fur. I'm sure the dog was not cold. I have a flat coated retriever (a black golden retriever) who loves to lay in the snow for hours. I always ask him if he wants to come inside and he just walks back out and rolls in the snow more. He loves it. So I don't think this is an issue of animal cruelty. If it was a different breed, perhaps. Secondly, in my town we have doggie tie ups outside lots of stores and everyone walks there dogs to stores, ties them up, does their errunds and comes back out. My dog loves it because he gets to sit there and watch everyone go by and get petted by everyone. Obviously, you should not do that though if your dog is not nice or would be scared by this. But the dog in this story seemed very friendly and wasn't cold. If I was the owner, I wouldn't have left him that long without checking on him, or having a seat where I could kept an eye on him. But, still, I don't think the owner did anything that deserved to be yelled at for.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 7 years
I agree with you, I would have been upset but probably would have just walked away. One day I was leaving work and someone had left their dog tied up to their cars bumper. There was no shade for the dog, no water, nothing. It was easy 90 degrees outside and we were in a parking lot, so the asphault would have been hotter. I called the Police but they said there was nothing they could do. :oy:
colormesticky colormesticky 7 years
Yeah, but if you're trying to help that's one thing. It's another thing entirely to rip into someone for having a different view. I just overreacted to the question because all I ever see is loud, bad-mouthed arguments at the park about who's dogs is worse and which person is the bad guy.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 7 years
There are certain times when it's necessary, as some of the stories here have shown. When the dog or cat is in danger, being harmed, or in danger of being harmed, it's necessary to call the proper authorities. I've called a few times! But there's a limit. It's really hard for me not to tell people how to 'raise' their pets. I've done a large amount of research to find the best for my cats, and I provide them with the best of everything to make their lives as good as possible--from material things to the way I teach and train them and tend to their psychological needs. This leaves a lot of room for judging and it's really, REALLY hard not to. When I do, I get labeled a "know-it-all" (which is actually technically accurate in this case) or preachy, or snobby, or worse. I just want to educate people because I love animals and I want the animals I can't share my life with to live as well as the animals I do. It's just a touchy situation because people are so insecure. Telling most parents (of pets or children) that there's something they should be doing better is most often taken as an insult to their parenting skills.
Jessie-M Jessie-M 7 years
I would have definitely asked the bartender/owner to make an announcement about the dog to try to get the owner's attention. I LOVE dogs, but I used to work in a grocery store as a cashier, and there was one woman who completely ignored our store's no-dog policy (except for assistance dogs, of course). I repeatedly had to lecture her about how she is not allowed to bring her dog into the store with her (she had a small dog, and would carry him/her under her arm, right at table level, through the produce department and let him lick/sniff/paw at all of the fruits and veggies!). Her excuse was "Oh, Im only here for a minute, Im sure nobody minds..." Well lady, I'm sure nobody wants your dog licking their food!! It got to the point where I would stand at the front entrance and tell her she was not allowed entrance to the store unless she kept her dog outside, or I would call security to escort her out. It wasn't that she didn't have anybody to stay outside with the dog either. She always had her three kids (about age 10-14) with her, who would have been more than able to wait outside for 'just a minute'.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 7 years
If it's a blistering hot day, and there's only the teeniest little crack in the car window for the dog, I'd definitely call someone. Other than that, I don't think dogs really care all that much about the colder's the heat that makes pups suffer (unless it's not a very hairy dog)
nikki815 nikki815 7 years
I live in a very suburban area so this idea would be strange to me but.. I just came back from Vienna, Austria where that is totally normal. In a city that is pedestrian, people walk to the grocer, leaving the dog outside then continue on their way. Some people even left strollers (w/o babies of course) at the door before shopping. Again, in my city, it is so abnormal, I would worry, but I never thought twice as I passed a pup waiting for mum or dad. In fact I considered the idea of leash holders for multiple dogs. Can you tell I did a lot of walking?
tglynn tglynn 7 years
Oooooh, I did this at Petco. Some lady was "scolding" her dog by yanking on the leash, only it was a toy dog and every time she did that the dog fell backward and got dragged a couple of feet. Ugh. Then she scolded me for thinking lizards are cute. lol, oh well
running-home running-home 7 years
I think you shouldn't do anything to an animal that you wouldn't do to a child.
runnergeek runnergeek 7 years
oh and to answer the original not sure what i would have done. maybe waited until the owner came back to the dog...
runnergeek runnergeek 7 years
omg bookish that is sad about dozer :( people just have no idea how to be responsible dog owners. it angers me to no end. i used to live in houston (no more thank goodness)..i will tell you one of the main reasons i left, at least once a week i would drive to work on the highway and see a dead dog on the side of the road. mostly because people drive with their dogs in the back of their pickups. so ridiculous. couldn't wait to get the hell out of there..(no offense to anyone from houston, it is just not the place for me).
Bookish Bookish 7 years
When I had to call the owner of a Staffordshire terrier named Dozer that runs loose in our neighborhood (for the third time!), I suggested that maybe tying him up with heavy-duty electrical cord wasn't working- he was still chewing through it and getting loose. At the time of the call, he had jumped into my car and refused to budge. I never got a call back from his owner. Sadly, when I went to the pound to get a dog, I saw Dozer there in a cage- and I would have taken him home with me, because he's pretty good natured, but I've got two little kids and have to be more cautious. And I wouldn't leave my dog tied up somewhere outside- for a number of reasons. Some little kid might think it was funny to tease a tied-up dog, get himself nipped, and then I'd be slapped with a lawsuit. Or someone could just decide they wanted my dog, and walk off with him- my Rocky has never met a stranger and wouldn't bat an eye. If I can't have him on a leash at my side at all times, I leave him home.
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
I think I would have asked the barkeeper to make an announcement...something like "Too the owner of the golden retriever parked by the meter, licence K-O-N-A, you left his/her lights on!" It's not accusatory, but hopefully it would convey to the owner that others were concerned about the dog's safety.
colormesticky colormesticky 7 years
I see people get in arguments at the dog park fairly often, usually over a fight between their dogs. I get SO pissed off. It's one thing to offer constructive advice, it's totally another to be a jerk. If you want a fight, tell a pet owner how to treat their pet. You'll be lucky if you come out of it without being called something foul.
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