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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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So you love your dog? Then why aren't they wearing a tag?


 By Marie Leotta

As the Waitsfield Dog Warden, I am constantly confronted with dogs running at large without a collar and tags. This has posed some serious concerns on my part as well as the concerns of the people involved with the capture and incarceration of someone's beloved pets.

Today has me particularly upset. My first call of the day was to alert me of a dead dog on Route 100, which after further investigation might have been a deer. I could find no carcass to identify, and hope it was a deer someone saw fit to pick up. But, as the morning passed, I stopped by Valley Animal Hospital, only to find out that someone had picked up along Route 17, a young male (intact) black lab with a collar and no tags. He was dead, hit by a car.
I, along with others, am distressed that we cannot inform the owner, and on top of that there are no consequences other than the loss of a loved pet for the owner. They will probably just go out and get another dog. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but I am angry with anyone who owns a dog, yet disregards their responsibility to register their dog with the town and keep it on a lead.
This also means adhering to our town laws which says keep your dog on a leash when out walking it (unless you have one heck of an obedient dog), and to have the necessary shots and tags for it. There are also places to walk your dog which are for humans first and dogs second which require you to pick up after your dog. Don't like it? Don't walk them on the Mad River Path. This is entirely up to you. But, for heaven's sake, be a decent neighbor and clean up after your pet. Also, if you tie your dog up in the yard put it on a separate collar so that if it does chew through the lead or slips the lead, it will run off with its collar still on it! A simple solution to a huge problem I run into all too often.
It is also irresponsible of anyone who owns a dog to allow their pets to remain unneutered or unspayed. There are organizations out there that will help you to have your pet neutered/spayed for either no charge or a small fee if you cannot afford it. There are no good reasons for people to neglect their pets in this matter. It is a fact that male dogs are especially prone to wander more so than a neutered male. And a female cannot become unknowingly impregnated. There are millions of animals being euthanized in the U.S. alone. You are not a dog breeder, and the world doesn't need another unwanted puppy. Help to stop this madness and neglect. Be responsible!
For these reasons, and I am not happy to ask people to police their neighbors, but, I am asking you, the responsible pet owners of Waitsfield, to report anyone who owns a dog without tags, or repeatedly lets their dogs out to potty without the benefit of a leash to call me. My home phone is: 496-7036. The next life you save may be someone's wonderful pet.
Marie Leotta lives in Waitsfield and is the animal control officer.

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