Stewartville residents voice concerns over unleashed dogs, City says “Not to worry”

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(ABC 6 News) – How many times have you seen a dog without a leash? Maybe they run up to you, or maybe they mind your own business. Either way, it can be a scary moment for both humans and your pets.

Those potentially scary moments are what led one man, Brian Kettering, to voice his concern on Facebook in the Spotted in Stewartville group.

The post reads:

“Hey, leash your dogs. This is 2023, I can’t believe this has to be said. Your dogs may feel like your children to you, but they’re still unfamiliar animals to everyone else, and I don’t need you assuming that me or my toddler are interested in meeting your dog while out and about.

“My toddler is not a fan of random dogs charging them at a park, no matter how friendly you swear they are. I was not a fan of being bit by a neighbor’s dog just two weeks ago walking in my own neighborhood. Let’s be considerate of each other.”

The post made by Brian Kettering.

Kettering explained what happened that day.

“I made sure to let her know I didn’t appreciate that very much. I wasn’t mean about it or anything. She was very apologetic. We had a relatively, as pleasant of an interaction that you can have about that as possible, I think. But I still didn’t find it very appropriate.”

But this isn’t the first time a dog has ran up to his family.

“Then, just probably a week later, my wife was with my daughter in the park and they were walking around. And some dog not only ran up to my daughter and scared her. Didn’t appreciate that either. So I took to the page where everyone else seems to air their grievances on Facebook.”

City Administrator Bill Schimmel says there’s not a major reason to be concerned.

“If there is a bite situation, people do, our citizens do call in. We certainly aren’t inundated by many calls. They do come in periodically. Then we have an ordinance that talks about the care and control. If the city were to take additional measures, in those instances.”

Jessi Smidt feels differently. She says because of unleashed dogs, she’s had to stop walking her dogs in Stewartville.

“It got to the point where there were just dogs just kind of running at large, unpredictable. It was just easier to pack them up, put them in a car, and go run them in the country.”

Smidt runs her own dog training business, The Family Fido. Training your dog to be on a leash, is all about making sure they’re confident on one.

“If it was a social dog, I would automatically drop my leashes and let them sniff butts and communicate because that is the safest way for dogs to meet,” added Smidt.

If the dog isn’t friendly:

“Have the biggest bag of treats you can find, and toss them to the dog running, hoping it will startle them. And then they’re like, ‘Wow! This smells delicious,’ starts to eat out of the grass, that gives me, or my clients the opportunity to B-line it out of there.”

It’s not just humans who see the trouble. Maren Schroeder had to stop walking her dog, Snoop, outside because of his anxiety.

“There’s another dog, a person, a leaf. He barks at a level 10 and looks like he’s going to hurt someone. And we’ve had a really hard time with that training.

“He can go to daycare and boarding and play with other dogs, and they can play with him whatsoever. So we know it’s the leash, and home territory that are his issues,” said Schroeder.

It’s something she says she’s working on. Schroeder did help start the city dog park by the Stewartville Waste Water Treatment Plant. Although Snoop isn’t quite ready to play there.

“Snoop at the dog park, that isn’t the greatest place for him we’ve learned. Because there are too many variables there”

Schimmel says most of Stewartville’s pet owners are courteous. But is reminding everyone to be as neighborly as possible.