Heartland Small Animal Rescue
Heartland Small Animal Rescue
Heartland Small Animal Rescue, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)3 rescue based in South Bend, Indiana.

We focus our rescue efforts on companion animals that are scheduled for euthanasia in local shelters. We foster many different types of animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, hamsters, hedgehogs, and reptiles.

We rely on a network of volunteers and fosters to provide love and care to our animals until they find forever homes.

Free-roaming dogs are a danger to themselves, others

Letting your dog run around your neighborhood as it pleases may seem OK, but doing so creates dangerous situations for your dog and others. Learn why in this blog post written by a Heartland Small Animal Rescue volunteer.

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 1:05 p.m.

In past years, dogs were often allowed to roam free. They were also frequently kept outside and fed table scraps. Now, most people consider dogs a part of the family and care very much about their health and safety. One important part of keeping your dog healthy and safe is to NOT let it roam free.

Here are some reasons why:

Car Accidents

Dogs are quick and unpredictable. Drivers often are not paying attention to what is on the side of the road. These two factors add up to a roaming dog easily being hit by a car. Dogs often die from car accidents.

Other Dogs

Your dog might be friendly, but other dogs may not be. Even if your neighbor’s dog is friendly, that doesn’t mean he or she will allow your dog into his or her yard. If your dog injures another dog, you can be held responsible regardless of which dog started the fight. This could result in legal repercussions and your dog being taken from you.


Infectious diseases and parasites are lurking everywhere from puddles to dead animals to other dogs' waste. When allowed to roam free, your dog can easily pick up a disease that can’t be cured or a deadly parasite. Preventative medications do not prevent all types of parasites and do not prevent infectious diseases. Not all parasites are visible and often go undetected until a dog is very sick. Dogs can also get sick and suffer from blockages or internal injuries from eating things they find while roaming.

Getting Stolen or Lost

Dogs being taken for bait in fighting rings or to be turned into fighting dogs is on the rise. A loose dog is easy to pick up and take. A good samaritan may also pick up your dog thinking it is a stray. If a dog does not have a tag or a microchip, it may never be returned to you. Your dog could be taken to a shelter and euthanized or kept by someone who finds it.


Your dog might love you, but might not like every person. If a dog feels threatened or scared, it might attack a person it is unfamiliar with. Again, this could result in legal and financial repercussions for you.

Fines and Fees

Shelters often charge fees for dogs that are picked up roaming free. You will, also, incur fines if your dog is not up to date on its rabies shot or isn't licensed. Many cities have leash laws requiring your dog to be leashed. Owners of dogs not leashed will be ticketed.

Unaltered Dogs

Dogs that aren't spayed or neutered add a whole new problem to the issue of roaming free. Your dog could become pregnant or impregnate another dog. An unwanted litter will cause more issues for shelters and rescues, which are already filled to the brim.

Being a Good Neighbor

Your neighbors aren't likely to appreciate your free-roaming dog, even if they are too nice to say anything. Dogs might relieve themselves in other people's lawns. They may dig up or eat plants. They might frighten neighborhood children and other’s pets (even if they are friendly). They will likely cause other dogs kept within their own fences or yards to bark and disrupt their owners.

Your dog’s safety and health goes hand-in-hand with being a good pet owner and neighbor. Keep your dog on a leash or inside your own fence. This simple act eliminates many problems for you, your dog, your neighbors, your local animal shelters and your community.

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