I’ve lived in Tuscany for nearly 3 years now, and have always felt safe and welcome in this community. However, I would like to share a story some very UN-neighbourly behaviour I recently encountered.
I was walking my dog on Wednesday September 15; we came to the field we always walk to, where I can let him off leash to throw a ball. Often we encounter other people walking their dogs and doing the exact same thing. This day was no exception. In the field there was a man and his two little girls (who couldn’t have been more than 4 and 7 years old) and they were walking what appeared to be a young black lab puppy. My dog playfully ran up and around the group and I called to them that he is friendly with puppies and children and not to worry. The man pulled his puppy up by her harness in to his arms; Even though my dog was no longer at their feet, I instinctively apologized for him running up to them, assuring him that my dog is up to date with all shots, if that was his concern with the new puppy. I understand that some people are just not comfortable with their dogs being around other dogs off leash. So, I called to my dog, throwing the ball in the opposite direction as we passed the man and his children and we were on our way.
While returning with the ball, my dog saw the group walking away behind me. He ran past me and towards them again. I called him a few times and he stopped short of them, still at least 10 feet away, before coming back to me. It was at this point that the man now yanked his puppy up by the leash into his arms again and snarled at me about keeping my dog under control. He then snapped “the next time that thing comes near me I’m going to kill it!!!”
I was absolutely shocked. Did he actually just threaten to kill my dog? Though not instantaneously, my dog did listen to my command and stopped his approach of their group and this man still feels the need to say such cruel and callous things to me, IN FRONT OF HIS CHILDREN?! I couldn’t believe this kind of behaviour. My initial reaction was to shout out some choice words back at this man, as I considered his actions to be not only rude and mean but completely uncalled for. However, it wouldn’t be right to stoop to his level and throw venomous words back and forth, regardless of whether his children were present or not.
There are a number of different ways this man could have expressed himself to him in a calm and civil manner. Regardless of the situation, there is never a need to make threats.
Its frightening to me that there are people in our community that would act this way; and even more so that there are parents role modeling this kind of unacceptable behaviour for their children.
Editor’s Note: The City is asking for feedback on off-leash areas.