Walking to the station this morning gave me cause to reflect upon the question ‘why is there no licensing requirements for extending dog leads?’ You know the idea, spools of trip wire contained in a plastic handle that allow for the operator to be some distance from the dog. In fact let’s be clear here, by dog I mean rat.
Now I appreciate that there is a use for these leads and, because I am not a politician, I do not believe that they should be banned outright. Indeed I have seen these leads used repeatedly along the promenade by seemingly competent people. I do, however believe that some people should either not be allowed them or need some form of training. Twice this morning I was accosted by the combination of angry woman and distant rat. I have no idea why the operators of these little beasts always seem angry but I guess they do say that owners are like their dogs don’t they?
On both occasions the operator was bent over, marching forward and generally looking like they didn’t want to be braving the wind. Of itself this is not an issue but, like the pin on a hand grenade, this is just the start. As the owner wobbles along the pavement my legs are whipped by the trailing lead and there,in the distance, is a lazily meandering rat. That’s the problem, these creatures never lead the operator they always trail. Little rat legs skip from side to side of the pavement creating a cats cradle of lead with which to ensnare me.
The pavement is a public area so why are these people allowed to operate a rat without any knowledge of where they actually are? I can’t drive my car whilst looking out of the rear window, that would be dangerous. If I were to tie a rope to a pushchair and drag it along behind me I would be condemned for my irresponsibility. But they have a completely independent animal, allegedly under their control, completely out of sight. In fact, given the age of most of these operators, they probably can’t see what is at the end of the lead.
I think in future we should all arm ourselves with a pair of scissors and when we get tangled in a random mess of lead we can just cut it. The dog will thank us as it is freed to continue its exploration un tethered and the operator will probably not even realise they have lost their rat.