Yesterday I was cycling on our local off-road coastal purpose built shared cycle/pedestrian path. In the space of 15 minutes the following happened.
1. Cycling at about 10mph when suddenly four off-lead dogs shot out from the right crossing the path to a grassy area to the left of the path. Hardly had any warning due to bushes. Slammed on the brakes and nearly hit one of them. The female owner shouted at the dogs (too late) but she said nothing to me.
2. Two minutes later doing about 7mph coming up to a tight RH turn with loose sand on ground. An off-lead dog which had been sitting next to a standing owner suddenly shot across my path. Slammed on the brakes, skidded a bit, but didn't come off.
3. Ten minutes later on a narrower part of the path came across two 'staffy' type dogs, off-lead. One was sitting in the middle of the path, the other was just wandering around. The owner was literally about 75m up the path walking away. I tried shouting to her but she didn't hear me. Managed to squeeze past the dogs and caught up with the owner. Stopped. Pointed out to her in a polite calm manner that what she was doing might be dangerous and inconsiderate. Her reply? "Oh, f*** off you stupid t***, you people *f****** annoy me". Carried on cycling.
Simple question. Should dogs on shared paths be kept on a lead. On a ride two days previous to this, on the same path I counted, over 10 miles, a ratio of 2:1 dogs on lead versus off-lead.
Just for reference https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/laws-all-dog-owners-need-know
relevant section reads...
Out of control in a public place
Dogs must not be allowed to be ‘dangerously out of control’, which means injuring someone or making someone fear they may be injured. This applies to any breed or type of dog.
Owners (or the person in charge of the dog at the time) who allow their pets to hurt a person face punishments of up to three years in prison for injury, or 14 years for death, an unlimited fine, disqualification from owning pets, and having their dog destroyed. It is also an offence to allow a dog to injure a registered assistance dog.
In cases where no injury is caused, owners can still go to prison for six months, be fined up to £5,000, be banned from owning pets and have their dog destroyed.
We highly recommend taking your dog to positive reinforcement training classes and making sure they are well behaved members of society.
Read our advice on how to approach a dog in a public place.
Law: Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, section 3