Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Mastiff Baloo is no “bully dog”

Editor,

This is a letter in response to Merritt Clifton’s article regarding “bully dogs at Greenbank Farm.”

I am the owner of the mastiff, Baloo, that Clifton alleges “lunged” at him. I sympathize with anyone that has come in contact with an aggressive dog and concur that off-leash dogs should be under voice command. Some dogs are aggressive and owners should take precautions not to take these dogs to public recreation areas. I would, however, like to clarify my interaction with Clifton. My children, Baloo and I were walking at Greenbank Farm. Clifton ran down a hill toward us. He stopped, and Baloo, 4, was 5 yards in front of us and stopped as well. Baloo did a playful frisk — a play bow — and skirted around Clifton. I said, “It’s OK, he’s not at all aggressive.” Clifton waved his arms around and replied, “That’s what they all say.” My response was that if he didn’t want to come into contact with dogs, why was he running at an off-leash dog park.

Many people in the community are familiar with Baloo. He is a family dog that is entirely docile with children and every breed and demeanor of dog — the epitome of the gentle giant. It is absurd to say he has ever lunged in an aggressive manner. Despite Clifton’s self-proclaimed expertise, his article and photo reflect the defensive and aggressive personality I came into contact with. I’ll chalk it up to his bad experiences. For that, I’m sorry.

I am also a runner and 30-year resident of Whidbey Island. As the population grows, our many recreation areas become designed for different uses. There are two local areas for our dogs to run free, Double Bluff and Greenbank Farm. Runners and walkers should feel safe enjoying these areas as well. If they do not, there are numerous running trails and beaches that are dog free.

Sincerely, responsible dog owner,

LILA BROWNE

Freeland

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