Maynard van der Galien
I have a bone to pick with dog owners. Why am I seeing drivers with a dog on their lap as they’re driving? That’s a distraction just as texting and being on the phone. I was at a stop light the other day and watched a young woman in a tiny car in front of me with a poodle on her lap that was looking out the open window. She wasn’t hiding the fact she was holding a dog.
Section 162 of the Highway Traffic Act says that no person shall drive a vehicle with a person or property in the front or driver’s seat so placed as to interfere with the proper management or control of the vehicle.
That means you can’t have a child, a dog or cat on your lap while driving. The OPP will fine you $110 if you’re caught and you could lose three demerit points.
It would be interesting to know how many crashes and other traffic incidents are caused by pets riding on laps. A frightened or excited pet can jump up on you, claw you, climb up onto the dashboard, or worse — crawl under the brake pedal.
I see dogs in vehicles all the time — usually roaming in the back seat or with their head out the window. That’s a distraction too for the driver and for other drivers.
When I park to do my groceries, it always amazes me how many vehicles have dogs in them. Some dogs bark when people walk by. I’ve seen big scary dogs in vehicles who want to get at you when you walk by.
Why can’t the owners leave their pets at home? Are those canines so pampered and fussed over they can’t be alone for a few hours? Or are the owners afraid that Bowser will tear the house apart, or bark up a storm if left alone?
Now in case you think I don’t like dogs, that’s not true. I like dogs and dogs seem to really like me. But I don’t have one for a number of reasons. You have to spend time with a dog, train it, walk it, and care for it.
There are many people walking their dog, or dogs, early in the morning when the traffic is lighter. That’s good. I enjoy watching people out with their pets.
Remember the 1987 romantic movie Moonstruck with Cher and Nicolas Cage? The old grandpa Castorini lives above the store with four big dogs and goes out for walks with the dogs. How he manages all four on their leashes is amazing for an old man.
Recently, I watched a man walk his four dogs in town that was so similar to the movie. He had big dogs and little dogs and they were prancing about on their jaunt, taking up the entire sidewalk. Maybe they lived in a crammed upstairs apartment like grandpa Castorini and his large white frisky dogs.
This summer I was waiting at the door of the bank to open at 9 a.m. when two women came walking their dogs on the sidewalk. I was wearing shorts as I usually do in the summer. The first dog stopped and smelled my leg and licked it. The second dog did the exact same thing. Smelled and licked the one leg. The woman tugged on the leash to get her pooch moving and glanced over her shoulder seeing it licking my leg and tossed a “sorry” over to me. A man standing in line remarked I was lucky the dogs didn’t lift a leg and pee on me.
It was hilarious because I hadn’t been in contact with any canines. There was no doggy smell on me. I had taken a shower that morning so it must have been the fresh tanned leg that attracted them.
Some dog owners think their dogs are the same as children and bring their canines with them wherever they go. I was at a small outdoor birthday get-together this summer and one couple brought their dog. It wasn’t on a leash and it wandered around going to people looking to get bits of food and wouldn’t obey the many calls to “come and sit”. The dog ruined our nice social.
In my opinion it’s very rude to bring your dog to someone’s house without asking. It’s the decision of the homeowner whether to allow an animal in their home. Bringing a dog to their home ignores this fact and is therefore presumptuous and rude.
Some dog owners are inconsiderate of others — you know, like smokers used to be. Dog owners could be frowned upon as being the new smokers.
Maynard van der Galien is a Renfrew-area farmer and agricultural columnist.