Dog days up on the trails

A letter writer (click here) to this paper claims that Mayor Godfrey is making up the problem of dogs on Ogden’s trails, even to the point of saying there’s no complaints of dog poop up there.

Not sure what trail that guy is hiking on. Perhaps I was imagining the large pile of brown stuff — Solidified sunshine? Fertilizer? — we came across Monday hiking the trail north from 36th Street. Maybe I should have called the city.

This person feels dogs and their owners are being unfairly picked on while the police ignore gang issues and other dangers. From what I read — declaring Trece a civic danger — the city is actually trying real hard to tamp down the gang problem. The cops can’t be everywhere at once and, anyway, his issue is with the dog catcher, not the police. They’re two separate departments.

I’m glad to see the crackdown. My corgi likes to run loose, but I worry that if he is loose up on the trail he can get into trouble with a snake or a skunk or another dog and, of course, if he takes a dump far off to the side of the road it’s hard to clean up. A leash protects him better and makes my life easier.

People who let their dogs run loose are who make me mad. Their dog could attack mine — you never know which dogs will fight — and without it being on a leash there’s nothing the humans can do about it. People who think it’s ok for their dog to take a dump on the trail because “it’s out in nature and poop is natural” forget that the smell may be natural, but it’s also not pleasant. Nor is it pleasant to have to walk by the stuff.

I have have several friends who’ve been nabbed by the dog cop and given $80 tickets for having their dog off leash (despite  the letter writer’s claim, this is less than the standard punishment for rape) and I’ve clucked sympathetically, but I’ve also thought “so keep the dog on a leash.”

Either that or take the critter to the off-leash park (the new one in West Ogden or one behind Shopko in South Ogden) or go out into the wilds where there’s more room and fewer dogcatchers.

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12 Responses to Dog days up on the trails

  1. Ryan says:

    While I feel the writer was dramatic in his presentation, I do agree with some of the points. I would love to take my dog to the dog park – If it was convenient. The administration blew it by putting the dog park in a place no one I know feels safe taking their dogs. It’s fine in the middle of the day but some of us have jobs and aren’t able to do this so the dogs get stuck on a leash. While a corgi can get a good workout running from one room to another, bigger dogs need to be able to run. I suggest that they turn Marguardt park into a dog park. This would solve the problem.

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    a corgi gets a workout running from room to room?

    You obviously don’t know corgis.

    But we do need more off-leash parks. Ogden is surrounded by small cities that could set some up. Has anyone asked?

  3. Doug Gibson says:

    I wish police would ticket home owners who allow dogs to run unleashed in front yards and driveways. It’s a constant annoyance when I am walking my dog on a leash to have these yard-tyrant Fidos rush my dog barking and growling.

  4. CB says:

    Unleashed dogs in any non-designated area are a menace to themselves, people, and leashed dogs. There have been times my big dog has been attacked while on his leash. I don’t think people adequately appreciate that I am preventing serious harm to their dog by not allowing mine to simply defend himself, while he is harmed by their dog, with impunity.

    LOL at “a corgi gets a workout running from room to room” – that doesn’t apply to my cairn terrier either, even as tiny as she is.

  5. Neal Humphrey says:

    As a member of the Madison Avenue Rod, Gun, Bloody Mary and Labrador Retriever Benevolent Association I’d like to weigh in here.

    I presently have a pair of elderly Yellow Lab sisters who accompany me on 50-100 miles of hiking almost every month. The Girls wear bells to alert wild critters so that wild ones can slink, slither, or slip away. If the trails are crowded The Girls often leashed but sometimes at “heel” if the trail is wide. Other times they run free. But then they’re also trained (by me). Their response to my whistle is solid. If it looks like their “come in” won’t get them to me in time to avoid an equestrian or bicycle rider, I add a hand signal and they veer off the trail.

    In a decade and literally hundreds of encounters with people and dogs we’ve had one squabble with an aggressive young husky And that owner asked me for advice on how to socialize her dog. I’ve never once had anyone demand my Labs be on a leash.

    And most of my hiking is in Davis County where I’ve never once seen any animal control or law enforcement presence.

  6. lisa ward says:

    I love taking my dogs out on the trails and on the river parkway. My dogs are always leashed and I pick up there waste. That said… I have issues with people who let their children run up to my dogs(thank goodness they don’t bite), people who drop garbage all over and do not clean it up, and people who almost plow us down when we are walking. I agree everyone with a dog should control and clean up after them but what about the people who leave trash all over and have no thought for others?

  7. Bob Becker says:

    With Neal on this one. I’ve done a lot of walking on the Bonneville Bench trail above Ogden, and never, but never, had a problem running into an unleashed dog. Mostly big friendly mutts, and all under good voice control of their owners.

    But folks need to use a little sense. No dog should be off leash on heavily used trails, like the River Parkway or the Mt. Ogden Exercise Trail, or in the picnic and play areas of parks, ever. But the higher less frequented trails, I don’t see a problem, and haven’t seen a problem. [Note: this does not excuse off leash walkers from trail poop clean up.]

    And sorry, Charlie, but for a lot of people, the major point of trail walking with a companion dog is not to get the dog exercise. A trip to the dog park just is not the same thing. Apples to oranges.

    In Salt lake, besides a dog park or two, there are a couple of canyon forest trails that are designated leash free on certain days of the week, leash only on other days. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me, permitting maximum use of the trails by different people with different ideas of what constitutes good trail use. Perhaps Ogden might do the same.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Bob,
    I’m so glad to here that from someone. I am an evil off-leasher for the reasons you mention but also for safety. I RUN the Bonneville trail 3 to 4 times a week; if I had my two dogs on leash on that narrow, rocky trail, it would be dangerous. That trail is also frequented by bicyclists who often come speeding around blind corners. If the dogs were on leash, we’d all be in trouble. I have run with my dogs on the trails for four years and I have never been bothered by other dogs off or on leash and my dogs haven’t bothered others. I very happily leash up when asked and often when I see another dog on leash because I figure that dog might be on leash for a reason.
    In Boulder, Colorado, you can get a license to have your dog off leash. This requires you to pay for the test and for the license. This would be a much better idea than citing people with well-behaved dogs. It would bring in revenue for the city as well.
    My dogs have both lost 30 pounds over the last 3 years. You’re right, Bob, the dog park doesn’t cut it for this kind of exercise.

  9. Sylvia says:

    That should be “hear” not “here” . . . Wish there were a way to edit comments once you’ve posted them!

  10. Meg says:

    until we crack down on people leaving their trash all over the trails…what’s a little dog terd?

  11. lisa ward says:

    Well I think I wrote that wrong. Meg, dog poop stinks,draws flies and should be picked up. I just think that trash should be a concern to. I use the trails and parkway alot and have never had an issue with dogs on or off leash, maybe I am the lucky one but people tend to be in control of their dogs when I am out with mine. Oh and I have been to the dog park and it is not the same thing as when we go hiking or walking.

  12. Midwinter says:

    I left this comment on the article, but Charlie’s blog seems to be getting more traction. ;)

    While I completely understand the need for municipal leash laws, as a dog owner, I would like to see some set of alternating days where dogs may be off-leash on the trails. Every other Tuesday and Thursday, maybe? Or perhaps even some kind of licensing scheme where, if our dogs pass a certain set of tests, we can (pay for and) receive a license to have them off leash? This could even be a minor revenue stream for the city.

    The Ogden Dog park’s problem is not its location; the problem is that they sectioned the large area into too many smaller areas. It’s fine right now, but in November when the South Ogden Dog Park closes, there are going to be many, many more dogs there, and this is going to make the layout flaws abundantly clear. I hope they can rectify this and combine some of the areas, because it’s difficult to imagine 40 dogs running around in the grassy area without lots of collisions.

    I jog the foothills trail every day (with my dog on leash), and I have noticed recently that Animal Control officers have been staged at various areas. While I understand that they deem this necessary, I would like to see them in some kind of clearly-identifiable uniform. The officers I have seen always seem to be in plain clothes just sort of hanging out in odd places….

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