Off-Leash Dogs: A Concern For Many Runners

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Sep. 23, 2011
  • Updated Sep. 23, 2011 at 10:52 AM UTC
Unleashed dogs pose a threat to unsuspecting runners. Photo: Perfect

The problem seems to be getting worse.

Unleashed dogs pose a threat to unsuspecting runners. Photo:

We’ve all been there before: out on a nice, quiet run along a trail, when all of a sudden a dog appears at our heels. Is it a friendly dog? Has it bitten anyone before?

More importantly, where is the owner and why isn’t it leashed?

One person who can relate to this experience is “Steve”, a runner from North Oakville, Canada. He changed his name in a recent Web site article for fear of reprisals from neighbors.

“I run a lot, and I have for a long time,” said Steve. “I like dogs. But over the years, I’ve been chased, I’ve been screamed at by owners, and I was even pinned against a tree by two dogs once. It goes on and on.”

Greg McKinnon, the owner of Oakville’s The Running Company store, hears stories like Steve’s all the time.

“We’ve had customers attacked, we’ve had dogs who were on-leash with a runner, attacked, we have people who are so terrified they’ve decided to not make use of the trails anymore,” McKinnon said. “You don’t even have to be running; I’ve had seniors jogging and knocked down by dogs.”

For More: Inside Halton

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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