The Retractable Leash
A Dangerous Tool !!
by: Scott Bruns
What an invention, those retractable (Flexi) leashes. A dog owner can enjoy little to no movement as the canine on the other end has the ability to come and go, frolicking up to 25 feet away from its owner. Wandering here and there, back and forth, round and round without restriction, guidance or control by the owner. Ahhh yes, what a great invention indeed. Perfect for those people who think that by letting their dog extend out 25 feet on their own that they are affording them some extra freedom.
Then you get the people like me that believe the hook end of a retractable leash needs to be fastened securely to a garbage truck and the big, gaudy plastic handle (that most humans cannot hold onto securely anyway), be let go of forever.
Who am I to make such a comment about such a marvelous plastic, metal , nylon and spring steel invention? Just a humble but upset man that has handled and placed over 4,000 of these wonderful dogs called Greyhounds. I am also someone that believes that even after thousands of years, dogs, domesticated or not, still remain pack animals and that they love and respect a strong, fair, and responsible pack leader.
All of my dog friends would rather walk, run, exercise and explore new areas WITH me rather than away from me, and I with them. I understand that may not be true with all readers of this article so I will move on to my next point.
I have personally seen far too many dogs attached to these ominous retractable leashes get dangerously tangled with people and other dogs. This is not only rude and reckless, but it has also been the cause of many serious dogfights, bite wounds and injuries to people. I have heard of more than one person lose an entire finger to a retractable leash – and even worse!
Now for a physics question: What does your Greyhound weigh? What kind of speed can he or she obtain with 25 feet at its disposal in an all out run after a dancing, chirping chipmunk? Now equate the weight of the Greyhound and multiply it out in an equation to come up with the force you will encounter as the dog reaches the end of the extendable leash and pulls the 6 lb. plastic handle from your hand!! Whatever the answer is one thing is for certain: You now have a terrified Greyhound running away with a heavy, loud, obnoxious leash bouncing along behind them. It is a monster that they cannot outrun or get away from. This loose greyhound, just by virtue of having that leash attached, is now susceptible to a host of grim scenarios. They can easily get caught up and strangled. Many have gotten trapped and starved to death – a slow, cold and painful way to die.
A recent case of a lost Greyhound has inspired me to once again write an article on their dangers. We have just recovered the lost greyhound – a precious and shy girl named Necco that had been on the loose for two days after her retractable leash was accidentally dropped. She was found alive and reasonably well thanks to the love and dedication of approximately 24 volunteers from Maine Greyhound Placement Service and with the added assistance of local police, animal control and concerned neighbors. We even had a board member and volunteer from Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, Massachusetts join the search party! We cannot thank these people enough for their amazing and heroic efforts.
Necco (Pictured here on 8-27-06) is doing well and recovering at the MGPS adoption center. All four feet are badly scuffed up, one toenail is completely ripped off and she has a number of bruises and scrapes. She is very, very sore but we are treating her pain and she is getting lots and lots of TLC.
We urge all of our adopters or potential adopters, DO NOT USE RETRACTABLE LEASHES ON YOUR DOGS!!! It is an unacceptable, uncontrollable, and deadly way to “contain” your dog. They should absolutely be banned!!! A simple nylon leash will be the safest bet every time – for you and your dog(s).