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The Leash Law in Newport: a Matter of Life and Death

June 19, 1988

In response to Pamela Dilday-Davis' commentary on leash laws in Newport Beach (Orange County Opinion, May 15), I am sorry she feels deprived of the privilege of letting her dog run free, but I know of one owner who probably wishes he had obeyed the law.

Several years ago we lived in a condominium in Newport Beach and regularly walked our two small dogs (on leashes) in the complex. Repeatedly we were threatened by a neighbor's Labrador that was never on a leash. We constantly reminded the neighbor of the city law and the condominium regulation regarding leashes but were met with apathy and a sudden non-understanding of the English language.

One night the inevitable happened. We were returning from a business meeting and turned into our street, going no more than 10 m.p.h. It was dark; the Labrador was black; we never saw him coming. There was a sudden rolling-thud sound. Anyone who has ever experienced this will never forget it. We stopped immediately, and neighbors who had been outside came over. (Many of these people had also complained about the dog always being out loose.) Someone got the dog's owner. It was obvious the animal was critically injured. The owner didn't have a vet. He just kept saying: "Oh, he'll be OK." I finally convinced him to get some medical attention and told him where to take the dog. I later found out he had consented to euthanasia because of the severe injuries.

Even though this animal had caused us some unpleasantness in our walks with our dogs, he was still somebody's pet and didn't deserve to die the way he did. I only hope that the owner has decided that leash laws aren't such a bad thing after all.

MARYBETH HUGHES

Costa Mesa

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