AGAWAM After trying a variety of different ways to keep other dogs away while walking his dog Luna in the park, Ken Bihler came up with the Security Leash and is currently working with Invention Technologies, Inc. (Invent-Tech) to market his invention to companies who may be interested in licensing and developing the product.
Bihler, a retired postal worker and Vietnam veteran, lives in Agawam.
Although details of the Security Leash cannot be released at this time because the invention is still in the patent process, Bihler shared how he came up with the idea.
He developed the idea three years ago and decided to pursue it about six months ago.
He explained that he usually walks Luna, who is a Terrier and Chihuahua mix, in parks such as Robinson State Park in Agawam or Mittineague Park in West Springfield.
He said that, on average, he tends to see joggers with dogs that are not on leashes.
"Most dogs are friendly, but I don't trust any animal that is not on a leash," Bihler said. "When you have a small pet, you are afraid to walk in a state park or anywhere people have dogs running loose."
About three years ago, he was walking his dog when a larger, un-leashed dog approached him and Luna.
He said that Luna and the larger dog began fighting.
He said that his veterinarian explained to him that smaller dogs may become a little aggressive when on a leash and around other dogs because they feel threatened and that they can't escape.
"The two got into it and I had no means to separate [them] so I stuck my arm in," he said, explaining that he was bitten by his own dog in the process and the bite drew blood.
He added that he became angry because people are supposed to have their dogs on a leash or have control of the animal.
He said that he has had an un-leashed dog approach him a number of times.
After that incident, he tried a number of tactics to keep other animals away. At first, he started to take a water pistol with him on his walks to see if water would scare the un-leashed dogs away if they approached him.
"I do love animals and I want to make sure that I don't hurt the other animal," he said.
He also said that he purchased a sonic device and his wife obtained a license for mace, but decided he did not want to harm an animal with it.
After trying a variety of things, he put two items that already exist together to create the Security Leash.
He created the new item three years ago and decided to try to market it about six months ago when he called Invent-Tech.
"I talked to the vet, and he said it was a good idea," he said. "When people see me with it, they ask where I got it."
He said that he contacted Invent-Tech after watching the commercial on TV and he is now "on a roll with this thing."
He said that he can now go outside and walk his dog without the fear of another dog approaching.
He explained that since inventing the Security Leash, he has had a few dogs approach him and it has kept them away.
"I just want to walk my dog without fear," he said.
He said that about a year ago, he had another run-in with an un-leashed dog and said that he was glad he had his Security Leash with him at the time. That was before he called Invent-Tech.
He added that he wanted to call to have his idea patented before someone else thought of the idea.
Bihler said that Invent-Tech has been "very good and very detailed" and are "running with the idea because they feel it is marketable."
He explained that Invent-Tech had a designer draw up plans for his idea and has been showing it to a variety of companies who may be interested in licensing and producing the product.
According to Bihler, Invent-Tech takes the ideas and prototypes to six trade shows throughout the year to market them to companies. The country also markets products globally through its website.
"They are careful that the confidentiality stays there," he said. "They are really interested in working with me and I am really surprised at what the company has done for me."
Bihler said that the security leash would probably cost somewhere between $15 and $30.
He is hoping to have his invention available to the public soon.
"Everyone says you can't invent a new mouse trap. They're wrong," he said. "There is still room to do a lot more if you have an idea. If you think it will work, go for it."