Watch Tip: Oncoming Trains

Posted on August 8th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of Aug. 8:

Watch for dogs and cats that are near or on railroad tracks in your neighborhood. Odd as it might seem, some animals don’t seem to fear or even notice oncoming trains. Lure animals away from alongside the tracks and don’t step between the tracks. Remember: trains move faster and may be nearer than they appear! Their enormous size can fool your senses and you could die yourself while trying to save a dog who may move quickly enough to escape being hit.

Trains are high-risk for companion animals and their humans!

I’ve read a number of news accounts recently about dogs darting in front of oncoming trains. Their panicky owners follow and are killed while the dog escapes injury because they move so quickly.

Please be thoughtful around trains when you are walking your dogs or cats. They will do surprising things as you know! You would never jump in front of a moving train but a dog or cat will occasionally do just that. It’s as if they don’t hear the train or possibly they don’t comprehend the danger of being hit by it (similar to cars). Veterinarians will tell stories about companion animals injured or killed by trains and the story is usually that the animal darted right in front of it, surprising the owners.

Walk your animals well away from the tracks, beyond leash length. Remember that retractable leashes may be longer than you think and your thumb on that lever might not be fast enough to save your pet from being hit. This warning holds true of walking dogs alongside busy roads using retractable leashes too, especially if you have a strong dog or if something very interesting is just across the road!

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