Letters for Tuesday — December 13, 2005

• Leash law isn’t enough

• Is slower always safer?

• Think before speeding

• Dealing with the dogs

Leash law isn’t enough

As someone born in the tropics, I have been lucky enough to have traveled the world during my 30-plus career as a fashion/print/runway model. The problems of roaming dogs and dog attacks are prevalent and preventable.

Walking down the streets of Paris, France, I have seen children bitten by unattended small breeds. Staying at the Onassis estate (Rue Foche, a city block estate), I watched as small to big dogs did their thing in the park across the street, then chased the nearest person. Law enforcement shoots wandering dogs there. In Spain and Greece, it is worse. Poisoned meats are set out for wandering dogs.

In Brazil, I was attacked by the tiniest, teacup mutt! Of course, I sustained NO damage from such a tough little guy. Brazil euthanizes on first attack. Even with the strict leash laws in California, I have seen the same problems. High fines, euthanasia, and pet ownership classes are enforced in many of the places I have visited. We need to look at the growing problem on Kaua’i.

Every neighborhood on Kaua’i has the problem of roaming, barking dogs. Most of the barking dogs are outside dogs, trained to hunt, and held in large outdoor kennels. Then there are the dogs that seem to be alone, day in and out, on a lanai … watching the world go by, barking at every car, person, etc. For those lonely dogs, it gives them something to do. Where are their owners?

In my neighborhood, I see big and small breeds wandering the neighborhood, searching out a place to defecate and urinate. No supervising, until you hear the owner calling the dog home, some 20-50 minutes later.

It wouldn’t be a problem IF the animals would stay in their OWN yard. Instead, they do what comes naturally … they look for areas unmarked by their own scent, and to find the scent of other dogs. Unfortunately, problems will arise from that wandering. I have neighborhood dogs enter my yard from the front and back, and greet me at the kitchen door, big feet rearing up and onto my screen door, muddy footprints left all around my lanai. I guess they are attracted to the scent of my small, indoor dog. I can’t count the times I have had to run out front and turn on the hose (or sprinklers) to deter a big dog wanting to defecate on my lawn. Solutions? Grab your video or still camera and take a few pics of the wandering animals in your neighborhood. Send a copy to the Humane Society with a record of when, where, how, owner’s address, etc. Write, write, write to the mayor and council. Whoever might be able to make a difference with this growing problem. As more people move to the island, we will see more pets arriving. There isn’t any good reason for dogs to wander and bark aimlessly.

And don’t forget about the hazards to health of those wandering animals. You don’t know what your neighbor might have recently placed in his or her yard. Snail bait? Rat/mice traps, poisons? Recently sprayed for insects, etc? How about traffic? I see cars speeding all the time.

If pet owners don’t become accountable for the actions of their pets, it’s time for some laws to be enacted. The leash law isn’t enough.

  • Katie J. Ryan

Is slower always safer?

Interesting driving debate going on: Should slower drivers pull over and let others pass, or should they not because it encourages the others to drive fast? Well, since we hear over and over that we should slow down to save lives it isn’t surprising that some drivers think they should not pull over. Slower is always safer, right? The answer is no! Slower is not always safer.

A good rule of thumb is to go with the flow of traffic. If the flow of traffic is 53 mph and one driver is going 45 mph he is the one creating a dangerous situation. The safest thing that driver can do is speed up to 53, not create a long line of impatient drivers behind him while thinking to himself that these others should slow down and be safe. 53 mph is not unsafe! 55 mph seems to be acceptable by the police even though the speed limit is 50. If a driver feels his skills dictate that he not go over 45 he should definitely pull over and let others pass. Of course this also means 60 mph is dangerous. That driver needs to relax and go with the flow, which usually seems to be 50 to 55.

Which brings us to another good rule of thumb for safe driving: Be a courteous driver. Going with the flow of traffic is courteous, as is pulling over to let others pass, letting cars merge, putting on your blinker before you slow down, etc. Anytime we take other drivers into consideration, we are being courteous and making the roadways safer for everyone.

I think the powers that be are making a mistake when they imply slower is always better. It creates a situation where drivers think they are driving safely when they are not. With nothing else considered, slow is certainly safer than fast. But let’s try to consider everything we can. It’s just not that simple.

And please use the left lane in the passing lane areas for passing only.

  • Bruce Savage

The joke’s on Leno

In the Dec. 3 TGI, Chris Metcalf quotes a joke by Jay Leno in which he lists the natural disasters that have recently occurred and then asks, “Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?”

Think about this, Mr. Metcalf. All of those events occurred while God was still IN the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Brian Christensen

Think before speeding

Speeding. Ah yes, isn’t it very cool. You have your own set of wheels. The excitement of it all. And you decide that speeding would be very cool. The adrenaline’s flowing as you’re going faster on the roadways. But do you know what or who lies ahead? What the future may hold? No. Then all of a sudden an accident occurs. Your life and others is literally hanging from a string. Is this how you want your future to end up, in a hospital room with loved ones having to go through so much emotional pain? Not knowing if you’re going to make or not. It’s such a tragedy isn’t it, life just isn’t fair, when you make the wrong decision. So think and think hard before speeding on the roadways.

  • Jackie Simao

Dealing with the dogs

I feel very deeply for the woman who was hospitalized and is still traumatized after she was attacked by a “power dog.” I live in Hanalei and am also afraid to go jogging alone in my own neighborhood. Most of my girlfriends will not go with me any more for a walk, a run, a bike ride because of the unleashed dogs which wander the neighborhood and are aggressive.

What can be done about this before another person is badly injured or a child is killed? Thank you!

  • Devaki Holman

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