|Actual injury caused by a recent accident caused by a retractable leash. |
In this particular case, the finger was saved. However, there have been reported cases of
accidental amputations of fingers by these leashes.
Furthermore, it is my hope that you will consider the points that I make the next time you have an opportunity to recommend a leash for a customer in your fine establishments! Remember, I have no malice against you personally nor professionally, I just see some very real safety hazards for your customers and their dogs from the retractable leash products that are sold in your establishments.
First lets examine how the retractable leash works:
The drawing shown here is from the US Patent office. It is for US Patent US7896281 B2. I think this a pretty good representation of basically how most of the modern retractable leashes work. Take a look at the google patent link for more details.
I have heard people say that these leashes are similar in design to fishing reels. When looking at the patent , it reminds me more of the recoil assembly on a lawn mower rope start assembly. You know when you pull the string to start the mower and let go, the recoil mechanism pulls the rope back. That recoil action is very similar to the way the patent indicates that these leashes work.
The only remarkable difference that occurs to me is that the retractable leashes implement a braking mechanism to stop the retracting action. In other words there is a lock button that you can press to stop the recoil or retract action of the leash.
Okay, it sounds like a good idea. You can have a 20 or 30 ft. long leash in a small package and retract it when you want. On your walk, the dog is 30ft away, you lock the leash and let him roam then when he comes closer you retract it ,to make the leash shorter, then you go home. What a concept, huh? Well, in my experience there are multiple potentially extremely dangerous problems here.
There are several concerns and safety issues here:
- These cord on these leashes is usually mostly really thin line. If there is more than one dog in a close area, this is a potential disaster because the leashes very easily become entangled. This presents a risk of tripping and falling to the people and risk of extremely severe injury to the dogs. The potential for injury is due to the line being so thin and strong. It cuts very efficiently.
- Because this line cuts so efficiently, it is also a major risk for causing severe injury to people. There is a braking mechanism on these devices and you are suppose to use it to stop the recoil. However if the dog is suddenly alarmed a moves very quickly, usually a natural reaction is to grab the line and pull. This causes a lot of burns and cuts.
- It is very easy to accidentally get the small line wrapped around your fingers or other body parts causing sever injuries. If the dog suddenly pulls while the line is around your finger you could get an injury like the one in the picture at the top of this blog. You could also get a finger cut off. It has happened before!
- Because theses leashes are so long people are often tempted to give the dog more leash than they should and can not control the dog well enough when an aggressive dog approaches. Not to mention that dogs simply should not walk in public places on that long of a leash. It is dangerous to you and your dog!
- These leashes are much more difficult to handle (in my experience). There is no loop to put your wrist through. So if you are carrying anything or if you are mildly distracted, it is extremely easy to drop one of these things.The plastic case is heavy and big .Sometimes the leash is not locked and retracts upon being dropped. This can rattle the nerves of even a polite and well trained dog!