Let me start by saying that I love dogs, all breeds and sizes. When I had a dog growing up, I always leashed her anywhere in public, even in parks and hiking areas. In most places it’s required by law.
I don’t have a dog now, but I love to run, and often have issues with people who refuse to leash their dogs.
One ran in front of me and I fell so hard I messed up my wrist. Last month a dog ran out of their unfenced yard, crossed the street, and jumped on me, snarling and trying to bite me for several seconds before I gave it a knee and sent it running away. The owner watched the whole thing, but only started yelling when I kneed his dog. I also have a friend whose child was killed by an unleashed dog not long ago.
I’ve been thinking of carrying pepper spray, not just for dogs, but in case owners ever get confrontational. It sucks to not only have to worry about being hurt by an unleashed dog, but hurt by owners who don’t want to be responsible.
In the past, if the dog ran up to me but seemed friendly, I’d politely but firmly say “please leash your dog”. People either get angry and defensive to this, or they get smug, and it changes nothing either way. In worse cases the dog is downright aggressive, but even then, no amount of shouting or pleading seems to affect the owners - they don’t care until there’s a consequence to them/their dog.
I don’t want to be reactive or unreasonable. How do you respond to unleashed dogs? What should I do? Am I overreacting? The owners always act like it’s no big deal. I’ve even had racial slurs shouted at me, been called an “entitled white b@*#h”, and much worse from owners whilst their dog was jumping on/snarling at/attempting to bite me.
Tl;dr: How do I Handle People with Unleashed Dogs?