Friday, March 16, 2012

Bark City!

Last night, we attended a meeting initiated by a lady runner who recently got attacked by an out-of-control dog. Park City and its surrounding county has a leash law that is obviously hard to enforce, but that nonetheless is a law. Representatives from law enforcement, animal control, friends of animals, wildlife protection and trail system management, along with trail users and a very small number of dog owners attended the event.

What was clear is that a large number of people are scared by dogs on the loose and that some dog owners are jerks who think their animals is above the law. The problem of course is with owners, not animals that can't vote or can't drive vehicles, for example, they're just dogs. A few solutions were suggested, like creating specific trails where dogs could roam free, or set one-way trails that might mitigate the problem; there's also the fear of fine including those set up for harassing wild life.

In my opinion however, and more practically, users that don't like to be harassed by stray dogs ought to protect themselves (sticks, poles, mace) and most importantly take pictures of the offending pet, their owners and their vehicles license plates, so they can be reported to law enforcement and be identified as perpetrators. Education might also work, but most importantly attitudes have to change.

The bottom line is that we, the users, that don't want to be bitten by out-of-control animals, should act to bring a lasting change in attitude and shame these righteous bad dog owners into being better citizens.

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