PulseLine, September 9, 2015

Dear Westfield and Southwick residents:
I walk my dog everyday and have consistently been facing the same problem everywhere I go, which is loose dogs that come running up to my dog and I. My dog is friendly (luckily for these loose dogs- because he has had many opportunities to start a fight or even bite in self defense and never has) but he is reactive. That is, he gets WAY overexcited when other dogs approach him. I have been working very hard to get him to calmly walk by- we’ve been taking obedience classes right along, and he’s doing great. However it is completely unnerving when another dog comes running up, especially since on one occasion he was bitten and I had to bring him to the vet. As for the friendly dogs- it’s just a nuisance. One time a small dog came running up and ran circles around us. He was totally friendly and both dogs just wanted to play- but he wouldn’t leave us alone, my dog (who is 65 lbs of muscle) was dragging me all over the place. I yelled for help, no one came, and I eventually called my boyfriend to come and pick me up because this dog would not stop or go away. What really gets me is when people are rude to me when this happens! My dog and I are minding our own business when someone else’s dog runs up and causes a problem- and we get the dirty looks!
Please remember there is a leash law in Westfield, and even if your dog is friendly, not all dogs are. Mine is- i’m lucky. But again, this needs to stop. I bought some citronella spray to keep dogs away- although I haven’t used it yet. Soon I will, along with reporting these incidents to animal control. There are several routes I will not even walk anymore.
Thank you to all who DO keep their dogs fenced, tied, or have spent enough time training where they do not leave the yard or have an impeccable recall. – Concerned Dog Walker

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