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Off-leash dog shot, owners could face fine

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Off-leash dog shot, owners could face fine

By Karen Lehr. CREATED Oct 2, 2013

A Boise family’s German Shepherd will survive after being shot Sunday morning in a Boise neighborhood.

The Harrison’s were getting ready to take their year-old dog for her daily car ride. When they opened the garage door and headed to the car, Dalia their German Shepherd spotted a couple walking their two dogs and sprinted toward them.

The couple said they felt threatened by the German Shepherd and that’s why the man pulled out his gun and shot the dog two houses away. However, it could be her owners who face a fine for not having her on a leash.

Dalia the German Shepherd returned home to her family Tuesday after spending a few days at the vet.

“She’s not aggressive in any way, she never attacked, she never barked, she didn’t try to bite anybody,” Dalia’s owner Joel Harrison said. “She was playing; she was just wanting to play with the other dogs until she was shot.”

Boise city code says all dogs are required to be on a leash in public unless in a specified off-leash area.

“The owner of the animal is responsible for any action that happens, they are supposed to maintain their animal at all times,” Boise animal enforcement manager Tyler Johnson said.

That means Dalia’s owners could possibly face a “dog at large” fine for violating the city code.

Some Boise dog owners feel for Dalia, and although most regularly follow leash guidelines, one owner says pulling a gun is excessive.

“[My dog] is excitable, she is only a year and half and she does like to go meet and greet and be like, ‘oh my gosh hi lets be best friends!’” a Boise dog owner said at an off-leash park. “But I don’t know, to think of someone shooting my dog because she wanted to go say hi makes me want to cry a little bit!”

The city of Boise has four entirely off-leash parks and several other areas that allow dogs off-leash at certain times.

City leaders say the leash requirements are in everybody’s best interest  to keep public places safe for everybody.

“It’s mainly for the safety of their animals as well as others, and park goers, so dogs that are off their leash could potentially be harmful to children, elderly people, other animals,” Johnson said. “So we want to ensure that everyone in the park has a safe experience.”

For owners who understand sometimes dogs just need to let loose, making a trip to a designated off-leash park can be well worth it.

“Oh my gosh, if we don’t she has what we call ‘crazy puppy hour’, where she runs figure 8’s in our little backyard!” a Boise dog owner said. “I’m just grateful that we have off-leash places where she can run and sniff and be a dog!”

If you’re caught with your dog off-leash outside of the specified areas your first offense will get you an $81.50 fine. A second or third offense within the same calendar year will be raised $25 each time.