Person Walking Dog

Maybe it’s because I live and breathe pets, and I can't get away from them even if I absolutely want to, that I have a way of noticing even the tiniest details. For me, it’s a constant battle to keep from paying attention to people who are out in public with pets in tow. They just naturally draw my attention, which wouldn’t be a bad thing — if most of them simply behaved.

It’s true. And most of you know it. People may be well loved by their pets, but the bulk of our fellow pet keepers don’t behave well in public. Here’s a rundown of how some animal-adoring brethren fall down on their civic duties:

They Don't Scoop Poop!

This is the most obvious lapse in the world of pet owner-dom, despite the fact that scooping poop is an easy-to-accomplish task!

It’s a fundamental responsibility of any pet owner to deal appropriately with his animal’s waste. And there’s no excuse for not doing it.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. In fact, plenty of people believe that what you and I would call an “excuse” is really more of a “reason.” These are people who think their dog's stool is messy and unsanitary and carries diseases that they can contract, and it makes them look like idiots when they pick it up.

With all the recent innovations in poo pickup bags and scooper devices, all but the sloppiest of stools are readily disposed of by perfectly sanitary means. As for the issue of disease transmission, it’s patently untrue that disease can be transmitted through the lining of a plastic baggie.

They Don't Use Retractable Leashes Properly!

If you’re mechanically inept, why would you think it’s a good idea to purchase one of those maddeningly iffy leashes that jam and let pets take off on a whim?

There’s nothing worse than finding yourself within retractable leash range of an excited animal who wants to run figure eights around you and your dog. I’ve actually seen significant damage done in these cases — mostly to the dog owners.

They Don't Practice Proper Meet-and-Greet Etiquette!

What’s up with people who think it’s perfectly OK to let their dogs lunge to the fullest extent of a leash line to greet other dogs? Do they have no idea that a surprisingly significant percentage of their brethren would like nothing better than to take a chunk out of their hide?

Most dogs are friendly. Some are not. And most of the curmudgeonly sort are aggressive only to members of their own species — and they’re more likely to act out when they’re feeling restricted or protective of an owner.

Clueless owners in this scenario are just asking for an expensive bite to the face. Honestly, the only one who wins in this scenario is the veterinarian. And, truly, that’s not how I like to earn my keep.

Those are my biggest out-on-the-street pet-owner peeves. I’m sure you have more, so feel free to share them here!

Check out more of Dr. Patty Khuly's opinion pieces on Vetstreet.