Letter: Dog owners - Terrifying visit to the Harland Way
I recently spent the weekend with my daughter and her family in Wetherby.
On the Sunday morning, we took my grandson and granddaughter on to the Harland Way so that they could ride their bicycles and scooter on the level path.
We stopped for a rest after a while and sat on a bench near the Barleyfields Lane entrance.
As we were sitting there, an woman approached on the path, accompanied by a younger lady with two dogs roaming free.
When the dog saw us it bounded over and immediately jumped up against me as I was sitting on the bench, leaving muddy paw marks on my clean trousers.
It then ran over to where my two year old granddaughter was standing with her scooter and jumped up against her, leaving muddy paw marks at the top of her white cardigan.
Understandably, my granddaughter was terrified and burst into tears. However, the old woman made no attempt to bring her dog under control, which was continuing to frighten my granddaughter, but simply told us that it was just being friendly.
When I asked her firmly to control her dog, instead of taking action to achieve that she merely accused me of being rude.
In fact, it was the younger lady who eventually put the dog on a lead and dragged it away from my granddaughter.
I doubt that I have ever seen a better example of incompetence on the part of a dog owner.
It was obvious that the dog who, fortunately for my granddaughter, was only being friendly, had never been taught any commands, verbal or otherwise.
I have walked along the Harland Way on many occasions, usually with one or more of my grandchildren, so I am aware that it is enjoyed by walkers, dog owners, joggers and cyclists.
I estimate that approximately half of the dog owners who use the Harland Way keep their pets on a lead and most of them recognise when small children are nearby and take appropriate action.
However, what all dog owners need to appreciate is that those of us who do not have dogs may not want to be pestered by them, even if they are only being friendly.
I would suggest, therefore, that for the benefit of all users, it should be compulsory for all dogs being walked along the Harland Way to be on leads.
In view of her terrifying experience at the hands of one incompetent woman, it will be interesting to see whether my granddaughter will ever want to return to the Harland Way.