I was biking down a quiet north country road a few miles from Canton the other day.
Suddenly, a large dog emerged from behind a parked car and ran toward me, teeth barred. I swerved left and managed to barely escape a collision or bite.
I then heard leaves crackling to my left and turned to see another canine barreling in my direction. I had a head-start this time. And as I pedaled frantically away, I marked a big X in a growing mental checklist: another road to avoid.
Unfortunately, this mental checklist of dangerous roads is growing large enough to require a physical document. The roadways around our area are a great resource for bikers, runners and other outdoor enthusiasts. They are generally well maintained and frequently free of heavy traffic.
Adding aggressive pets to a trip down these roads changes the experience drastically. A biker or runner must be constantly on guard for the slightest sign of an angry dog, ready to sprint away before a confrontation can come about.
Is this dog friendly? Is there an invisible fence in this yard? Is the owner present? There is no time to ponder these questions when an animal is coming at you. In a split second, a charging animal has created a potentially deadly situation for numerous parties including the person or persons in the roadway, the dog itself and any driver who may come upon the scene at high speeds.
I am certainly not advocating that dogs be left indoors. In fact, there are probably far too many pets spending their days locked in basements or living rooms as it is.
Instead, I would simply ask that those with dogs who roam outdoors be aware of all those who utilize the public roads adjacent to their property. If obedience is not your pets strong suit and he or she is prone to chasing wheeled travelers, please consider a fence, either of the invisible/electric or literal variety. If your dog obeys commands, please make an effort to be present when your pet is outside and be aware of travelers in the streets.
The roadways that twist through our county are shared by many groups and individuals. They represent an exceptional blend of beauty and functionality, and it is disappointing for me to routinely make detours to avoid certain roads, crossing more off my list one by one.