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Posted at 9:31 AM ET, 02/17/2011

Manassas considers tightening leash laws

By Elizabeth Flock
Small dog, big dog. Under the new proposal, the dog on the left at H Street Festival could be walked by a child, the dog on the right could not. (Linda Davidson-The Washington Post)

Kids have it so easy these days. In Manassas, they soon may be able to get out of walking their dogs.

City leaders want to make it a requirement that only responsible adults be the ones walking their canine friends, NBC Washington reported Thursday.

"We have had situations in the past where a big dog was being walked by a [small] child," who was unable to control the animal, animal control officer Karen Hayo told Manassas City Council members Monday evening.

I can't help but think that we've become so obsessed with shielding ourselves from every hazard that we're missing out in other ways. I know I learned responsibility, loyalty, and the other virtues from long walks with my dog.

But one Manassas woman recently reported having to jump on the top of a car to escape two stray pit bulls who had gotten loose. City leaders have proposed impounding and sterilizing dogs if they are caught running loose three times in two years to prevent situations like these.

What do you think? Should dogs be walked by adults that can handle them? Or should parents take the risk and let their kid walk Fido?

By Elizabeth Flock  | February 17, 2011; 9:31 AM ET
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The people of Manassas are anal retentive.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | February 17, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Children sometimes have trouble controlling medium-sized or small dogs. Even when they can control their dogs, children can get distracted resulting in dogs running loose. That wouldn't be a problem if all dogs were friendly, but some are aggressive and like to bite strangers. The other thing to consider is that even a typically even-tempered dog can exhibit unpredictable behavior.

Whoever is walking the dog should be strong enough to control it. If you could you rely on parents to make a sound judgment call (based on public safety concerns) on whether or not their children should walk their dogs, this law probably would not be necessary. But we all know that not all parents are responsible people who care about the safety of others.

Posted by: CAmira5 | February 17, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Sure, let's take away one more thing concerning childhood. This is up there with neighborhoods that ban basketball outdoors, even in cul-de-sacs. Let's just skip childhood and go straight to adulthood. Go find jobs, kids.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 17, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"If you could you rely on parents to make a sound judgment call (based on public safety concerns) on whether or not their children should walk their dogs, this law probably would not be necessary"

this law is not necedesary. Fine the adults for improper control. Let parents parent, and if they won't, then make them pay $$$$$.

Posted by: Greent | February 17, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Do we really need another law or do we just need enforcement of the ones we already have? (raise your hand if you've heard that phrase before)

Isn't it simple enough to stay that the dogs must be on a leash and under control without specifying the type of human at the other end of the leash? I haven't been to Manassas for a while but I would guess the bigger problems are dogs NOT on a leash and adults who don't have their dogs under control despite a leash.

Posted by: KS100H | February 17, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@ GREEN T -- I TOTALLY agree with you... fines really hurt people in the pockets and the odds of happening again decreases substantially

@ jckdoors--
What the heck??? Cul de sacs are NOT parks or basketball courts... they are roads and some are State Roads and NOT private or community spaces... if you want to play basketball go to the BASKETBALL COURT take your kids out there and play WITH them, supervise them. DOnt throw them to the cul de sac where there is NO supervision.

There is a place for everything. A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way between two places, which typically has been improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motorized vehicle. See? NOT a playground!!!

Posted by: DWARFBUG | February 17, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

They can't be serious? What level of daily micromanagement is beyond them? It's a PTA-Mommy Autocracy...

Posted by: mwcob | February 17, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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