Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Problems with dogs while running...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Problems with dogs while running...

A few days ago, I received the following e-mail from someone who was training for the Cork City Marathon...

I`ve had a couple of near misses over the years with dogs while running. Yesterday while on my 2nd  6 mile loop my Cork Marathon journey 2010 was ended prematurely I fear.

The loop I was doing was starting by the boat club down the Marina on to Blackrock Castle all around the walkway and back the old railway line to Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

There was some women with 3 dogs walking towards us. They heading Marina>Passage direction. Dogs going crazy running all over the place with no leads on.

While trying to avoid one dog another ran in to me knocking me to the floor. Some scrapes and grazes to both hands and elbows - grand ,  but the biggest problem being a blow I took to the knee. It is out like a balloon now and I fear the worst.

This was to be my last 20 miler before the Marathon. Looks like it will be 2011 now.

I was not sprinting either , pace being maybe 8 1/2 min/mile. The guy I was running with had a near miss only 2 miles earlier.

So I don`t know John , maybe you could advise runners through your website to exercise with caution , especially down there. There is a lot of preparation for the 26.2 and I would hate anybody to share my faith.  

P.S.  To be fair to the lady owner in question she was very apologetic but that's not much good to me . 

Now just to be clear on this, the local laws and by-laws on this are very clear. A dog owner must have control over their dog at all times in public places. In effect, that means they must be on a leash.

The conditions for Cork County Council are HERE and you can complain HERE

The conditions for Cork City Council are HERE (Section 3), contact numbers HERE

Has anyone else had a similar problem??


Unknown said...

As a dog owner and runner I understand the frustration of that chap. However, the Marina is one of the only places I can run with my dog so please dont launch a campaign against us and many others!!

I do circuits of 6 -10 miles several times a week down there and have control of my dog despite her not being on a lead.

I agree its an area to exercise caution but there are plenty other lovely places to do runs in Cork which are dog free. Id never had started running if I didnt have dog to encourage me to get out there..

Anonymous said...

Your dog should be on alead end of.Everyone has a right to safety and you are preventing that.

Anonymous said...

I have ran down there for a couple of years and dogs have always been a problem,I like dogs but they are not the smartest creatures and always seem to want to run across your path.
Best bet is when you see a dog not on a lead try to cross to the other side of the path from it.It's fine to say they should be on a lead but who is going to enforce it?

Anonymous said...

Considering that the marathon course is going to be on most of this loop, I would hope that it is only runners that will be allowed around there on the day, don't want any accidents !?!

Very difficult to know where a dog is going to go, if you are running towards him and its not on a lead.

For what its worth I love dogs+they're ALWAYS on leads when they're out !


Over here in the Uk, a friend got knocked down by a dog and bitten!
He took the owner to a small claims court and won damages!
I'm a dog owner myself, I only let my dog off the lead when I run off road over the sandhills, but always put her back on the lead if I see another runner coming towards me.
I myself have been knocked down, head butted in the shin and tripped up by dogs in the past.
p.s. to the injured runner, get yourself down to see a physio fast, it might still be possible to save your marathon with some treatment.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with the original poster here, all dogs should be on a leash if out in public. I run regularly along the 'old railway track' which is near the Marina area and I have came across a guy with 2 alsations off their leashes on numerous occasions. My wife has a very bad fear of all dogs, while walking down by the Marina we happened to encounter this same guy with his alsations off their leash. The two dogs ran straight for us (playfully though) but my wife literally ended up in tears because of the fear.

If you're out in public with your dog you must have consideration for others and keep him/her on a leash at all times.

Anonymous said...

Ah, a chance to rant and anonymously too! I have been running for a few years. Over those few years my love of running has increased in direct proportion to me disdain for dog owners. If I hear “he is only playing”, “he would not touch you” or “don’t mind him”, one more time, from some dog owner, who has more consideration for their 4 legged friends, than their fellow human beings, I am liable to explode. It would be great to see the law in relation to dog leashes being enforced.

Anonymous said...

I had an incident in Midleton last year while running the new walkway near the Bailick Road.There were two dogs being walked by their owner and as I came near , one of the dogs came for me and stopped me in my tracks. The owner caught the dog and when I pointed out to him that the dog should be on a lead he said that maybe I should be the one on a lead. With owners like that you will never win. I considered reporting him, but several people leave their dogs loose there every day. I think he learned something from the incident, as every time he sees me now he grabs hold of the dog and I just ignore him as I consider him to be an ignorant person...Keep on running

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever seen a dog warden down the marina or along those pathways i know all the times i run there I've never seen them.Dogs are left of the leash in places like that because the owners think they won't cause any harm but this shows that accidents can happen.I myself have a phobia of dogs and you would not believe how many times i have turned back after seeing a dog ahead in the distance.If we go back to the new race in Bantry in Feb the chap that finished second place told me how he had to stop durning the race as a dog came running at him ready to attack but he managed to scare him off no doubt costing him time in the race.

All dog owners are responsible for their pets/mongrels cause that what some of them are and are breaking the law by letting them run wild where people are out trying to enjoy a run or walk.

Dog owners be warned keep them on a leash or a warden could come from behind you someday and you could be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

I too have encountered problems with dogs last year while out running got chased by a jack russell. I am afraid of dogs after that and I cant understand why people cant keep their dogs contained in the premises or on a lead when they r out. I plan my routes where I know there r no dogs. Its just so frustating!!!!!

John Quigley said...

Hi John,
I run along that route several times a week. In addition I used to walk there with my wife, who has a mortal fear of dogs - she no longer walks there because of the huge growth in the number of off-lead dogs there.

When I run there, I keep tally of the number of dogs I pass, noting how many are on leads, how many restricted breeds etc. The results are interesting. On any given weekday, I will meet between 15 and 20 dogs, over the 3.5 miles or so. At most 25% of these will be on leads. At least one will be a restricted breed (aka dangerous dog), about 40% of these are off lead and very, very rarely muzzled.

At the weekend, thing are significantly worse. At peak times I will meet between 30 and 50 dogs and, at most, maybe 10 might be on leads.

I have come across an idiot who lets two dobermans (I kid you not!) bound around the green areas there! Thankfully I haven'rt seen him for a quite while!

A few weeks ago, I have raised the issue with the Dog Warden and have been told that they do not work weekends and that they only go to a particular area (including the Lakelands Walkway) if they receive a complaint. He promised to check the area out.

Wrt the Marathon, I have raised the issue with both the marathon and HSE people and stressed that ALL dogs MUST be kept off the route during the Marathon.

The VAST MAJORITY of dogs are NOT a problem to anyone, runner or otherwise, on or off lead.
I have issues with four broad categories of dog that are not on a lead:
1. Restricted breeds
2. Aggressive dogs, whatever the breed (I find that the owner is usually aggressive and foulmouthed too) (Hint, if you have a 'discussion' with an owner, don't swear or raise your voice - they usually do both. Get in a shouting match and you'll get nowhere)
3. Playful dogs - liable to trip you.
4. Dogs that appear to have the brains of a goldfish and simply wander aimlessly, oblivious to their surroundings - these are often the biggest problem ans propably the type that tripped the OP.

IMHO, the Lakelands Walkway has become a 'no-go area' for very many people, because of the ever increasing number of off-lead dogs there. At the Castle end, I used to see a quite a few patients from the nearby St Luke's Home, with nursing staff, along here. I rarely, if ever see them now.

Finally, I had a shocking incident along this stretch two years ago, while recovering from major surgery. A 'playful' dog wrapped himself around my right leg - to which a cathether was attached - and, when I attempted to push him off, I was all but assaulted by the owner, shouting in my face "Did you hit my F@*#ing dog!" (At the time, with assistance, I able to walk a short distance, at about 40 min/mile)

A minority of dog owners are responsible, but in the interest of everyone else, something will have to be done about the irresponsible majority.

Anonymous said...

Should come out the country. Plenty dogs and not an owner in sight. The classic one is the dog that's muzzled when the kids are playing in the garden but is left to roam the road unmuzzled when there's no one at home.

Kevin Cooney said...

People walking dogs without a lead normally say the same thing as you run. "He is only playing". "He will not touch you". "He doesn`t bite". What none of them realise is that you are thrown off your stride or pace and pay more attention to the dog and staying safe than your run. When a dog sees a runner , his instinct is to chase and not all dogs want to play but are more interested in taking a snap at you. A few years ago in Midleton I was chased and surrounded by six dogs as I ran in the Cricket field. I managed to get away from them, but like a lot of people I pick my route to avoid dogs if at all possible.I am a dog owner myself and actually like dogs in general, but dog owners need to be a bit more responsible.

Anonymous said...

13 comments about dogs and all but one are of people voicing their concerns/fears about these four legged creatures. I hate to complaint but I echo Kevin's comments. I was knocked off my bike by a dog about a year ago along the marina and twice in the last year dogs have jumped on me while running at the farm..leaving me with claw marks on my legs and yes the owners simile and say it won't hope that they would put the dog on a lead so the next time you come around the dog won't jump on you....but no….so you end up changing your running location. Another issue is dog poo...have cork people lost their manners to say they won't ensure their dogs behave appropriately in public??

Anonymous said...

i Have a dog , love dogs in fact and am a runner. I use the marina for a lot of my runs. Its hard enough avoiding the bikers, walkers and roller skaters (which i don't mind as they have every right to use the amenity as i do) but the dogs are a different story. Keep your dog on a lead for god's sake. There is nothing worse than running a hard session and having to nearly kill yourself avoiding stupid playful labs in the process. The dogs should be on a lead end of story.
Two years ago my buddy had a stroke and after a few months in a high intensive treatment center in Dublin, he decided even though he had lost his ability to speak, and walk properly that he wanted to try and learn to cycle. He got the bike and spent a few months on the turbo trainer at home getting fit enough to try cycling outdoors. Eventually the momentous day came and we arrived at the marina. Balance was not my buddies strong point as you can imagine and you know what's coming next-within 10 minutes he had been unable to avoid two different dogs and very nearly broke his neck as he crashed badly hitting them. We had to abort glad that the injuries were not too serious. One dog owner came over all apologizing etc. But as i pointed out if my buddy broke an arm, hip etc his rehabilitation would have been seriously hampered-the fact that he was on the ground in agony was irrelevant-all she wanted to know was "whats wrong with him? did he bang his head and is that why he can't talk?" All in all this was a serious incident which nearly drove me insane. I can handle being up-ended myself but a stroke victim has not got much chance. As for the council-they would be better off policing the situation and fixing the horrendous uneven footpaths , than clamping people but thats not for here.

Anonymous said...

Another problem that dogs (or their sometimes irresponsible owners) cause runners is the amonut of dog do that gets left on footpaths can cause a really nasty slip and fall. In the winter in particular I do most of my running in the dark (before or after work, mornings or evenings) and as a result am always looking for safe well lit streets. This past winter I found the Douglas Road / South Douglas Road / Cross Douglas Road / Douglas Village / Well Road / that general area safe. However the abundance of dog do in all of the aforementioned areas was a really bad nuisance. The amount of times I was so angry after picking myself up after slipping I used be drafting letters to the City Council and the Echo in my head but I never wrote them! As well as the danger of the fall it is also quite disgusting and unhygenic and potentially health damaging.

I don't want to take from all the above points too as certainly Susan and all the other posters above who've been victims to unleashed dogs have been really unfortunate. I really sympathise with Susan having to drop out of the marathon at this stage after having done so much preparation.

I notice the same at the Mardyke. May be not at the same frequency. They put the leesh on when walking on Western Road or Sundays well or where there are more cars going faster but the dog walkers seem to think it is ok then in the more pedestrianised places. Runners are obviously more vulnerable than people in cars. Silly me, I forgot that it is the dogs safety they are thinking about. Even when the dog doesn't come near you, just seeing an unleashed dog when running puts fear in me.

Even when rotweillers wear those collars to prevent them crossing their garden boundaries, it is still really frightening when they run as far as the garden boundary towards you as you run by. Furthermore, not in relation to runners, those collars don't prevent small children from going in to the garden.

What really annoys me about that "he doesn't bite" line is that any dog who does bite has a first time.

Furthermore it is diffucult to anticipate what might cause a dog to bit that didn't previously so you can never trust them.

Going back to my earlier point about the dog do - that is obviously a problem for a lot more of the Cork Community than runners.

Anonymous said...

As a runner who uses the area around blackrock/marina/rochestown on a frequent basis who is scared of dogs, I have to say I find myself running at really early hours to get out before all those dogs appear. I have had a number of incidents in the area which have only served to increase my fear. One of the worst was a terrier who snapped and nipped so badly at my ankles that I ran off the path into oncoming traffic in fear. It was not just me who was shaking from fright and anger but the drivers of the oncoming cars. The owner of that particular dog walked on and pretended not to have noticed and denied it was his dog even when it came up to him wagging its tail! Another scary incident occurred with one of those aforementioned restricted breeds, unleashed, no muzzle and unresponsive to its owner's commands. This dog circled me a number of times during which I screamed really loudly and the owner scolded me for over reacting! Would love to know what he's afraid of - heights, spiders, ghosts....??? Less than two minutes later the same dog approached the front of a buggy with a very small baby in it. Don't think the owner told the father of the child that he was over reacting!!!!
Don't get me started on the dog poo!

Anonymous said...

I run that route most weeks and have been tripped up by dogs on a few occasions. My attitude - the dog is highly intelligent and skilled in the arts of bringing down a runner!
So keep you eyes peeled.
My biggest gripe is the dog owner that not only has no lead on his mutts but is also blissfully unaware on anything going on around him with the headphones in...

Colin O'Herlihy said...

Despite some accidents outlined in the comments, it would appear that for most runners this is more a nuisance factor than anything else but as one poster has said, try running in the countryside and it becomes far more than a nusiance and a very real hazard. Whereas most dogs that are loose in gardens tend to only come as far as the boundary or gate, there are some which will give chase out on the road, barking wildly and also look as though they may well bite. As if this isn't bad enough, I very nearly had a serious accident last year near Fountainstown when one of these "chasers" appeared from a house, in which I hadn't spotted a dog before. As a reflex action I leapt towards the middle of the road not thinking of the traffic at that precise moment. Only for the quick reflexes of a car driver, well, who knows. Can anybody tell me what is the law in these cases? I often thought of calling back to the houses where I was chased but I wasn't sure if this would achieve anything. Instead, these "hot spots" are firmly in my mind and I have to stay on high alert when approaching them. On the plus side, I get the interval sprints out of the way during the run rather than afterwards!

Unknown said...

just out of interest, you can buy a gadget that emits an ultra high-pitched noise that will divert a dog away from your path, with no harm to the dog, and a very surprised look on the face of the owners. I know, because I have such a gadget

Anonymous said...

Sorry I am not a runner but I own 2 dogs, one is trained off lead the other one isnt yet.I am tired of encountering idiot dog owners who think its their right when they have a dog to leave them run free.The number of dangerous breeds off leads is alarming.Something needs to be done urgently to combat this before someone is killed.

Anonymous said...

I am a runner and a dog owner. I often run circuts down the Passage West, Rochestown, Blackrock area and I usually bring my dog. I have a border collie and she is very well trained. I can maintain control of her off the lead. Saying so I always run with lead and try and predict situations that may arise. She may loose attention of become distracted and may not stay by my immediate side. I have often times leashed my dog when out training and I come against families with young kids. I can not say 120% that my dog will not run past the kids or that the children may be terried of dogs. I always try and be viligant. I do not like the dog walkers who simply leave their dogs wander off and do as they please. I especially despise those dog owners who do not pick up after their dogs. I always pick up after my dog and I always keep her under control when she off the leash. As for those with fear of dogs, if I run past you with my dog by my side, leashed or not leashed you will still have a fear. You cannot expect to walk/run in those areas and not expect to encounter dogs. We need to shift the onus off the dogs and onto the dog owners to be more careful. If the dog can be controled off the leash then no problem but its the oblivious dog owners who walk either 40 feet in front or behind their dog are the issue. I have jumped over, knocked over dogs as well as having several near misses, but at the end of the its a calculated risk we take. If my dog caused an accident I would be at fault, no denying it at all. At the end of the day I will always run with my dog off the leash no matter how many times I may potentially be fined. Since we are on the topic of being knocked over why stop at dogs, how many times have you been out training and next thing someone flies past you on a bike, or you come to a section of path where it is full of walkers and all you hear is the ringing bell warning you that someone is going to have to move and its not going to be the person ringing the bell! How about families with kids who run all over the place playing, or the couple out for a walk who are joking and then last second one of them sidesteps you take a hopper. Its a calculated risk and we could debate the issue all day long about who is 'right' and what dogs should and should not be allowed on/off the leash. Im pretty sure that somewhere in the law that says dogs should be kept on leashes at all times, it probably also says that dogs that can controlled off the leash is also legal. Someone should look that up. As for me I will continue to run with my dog off the leash and just be a careful responsible owner. (and for those of you who are about to suggest a responsible owner would leash their dogs at all times in public, Id find somewhere else to walk and stop being so sad.)

Unknown said...

I'm fascinated at the relaxed attitude of dog owners when ever I'm out walking with my 3yr old toddler. Again,the same ignorant comments like it won't touch you,he's a slob etc etc. I had dogs all my life,Alsatian mostly,now I don't have any since my last Alsatian is 13yrs died. What I'm saying is i love dogs I understand dogs,all the more reason why I know that every dog big small indifferent should be on a leash when in public places. It only takes 2 to 3 seconds for the little slob that wouldn't hurt a fly to savage my toddler

Unknown said...

Also what these people are saying to me about their dogs being harmless and there's no need to be uncomfortable. Well the equivalent of that would be like me going down the walk one day wielding a samurai sword,and when passing nervous passer byes walking their dogs just reply,your fine I have never slashed anybody with it,I'm a quiet fellow anyway,theirs no need for panic.