Dogs make great pets.

It's too bad that people don't always make great owners.

Too many pet owners are inconsiderate. Take a walk on the streets of virtually any community and one of the things you'll probably encounter is doggie doo.

Even if you don't go walking, there's a chance you'll come out of your home and find a pile on your front lawn or sidewalks ... even if you don't own a dog.

We often see dog doo on playgrounds and little league fields.

Many municipalities have ordinances which carry fines for allowing a dog to make a mess on public property or someone else's lawn or sidewalks. An ordinance, however, is hard to enforce. Police have to see the infraction occur or the property owner has to prove ownership of the dog for prosecution to happen.

Another problem for walkers are dogs that run loose. We've noticed individuals who are walking dogs carrying sticks because there are other, unrestrained dogs that pose a threat.

Dogs running loose can also defecate on the property of individuals who don't own dogs. As they wander across streets and alleys, dogs running loose can also pose a danger to motorists.

If the dog owners are lazy or inconsiderate enough to let their pets run at large, we wonder how many of these people make the time and effort to have their pets licensed and vaccinated against such things as rabies. Licensing and rabies vaccinantions are required by law, but police departments are stretched enough than to be chasing loose dogs.

It's not until someone is bitten that police usually get involved. By then, it often becomes difficult for the dog and owner to be located. If the owner of the dog can't be found, the victim of the bite must often go through rabies vaccinations or other painful treatments.

If you own a dog, show responsibility.

Don't let your dog visit your neighbor's property to make a mess.

Don't let your dog run loose and risk getting hit by a car.

If you walk your dog, be armed with a scooper and a plastic bag to clean up if the pet makes a mess.

Make sure you have your pet licensed and properly vaccinated. Rabies are still a viable threat to pets in Pennsylvania.

Most canines are loyal and caring, traits which some of their "masters" could use.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com