Letter to the editor: Some dog owners think rules don’t apply to them
Given that this is such a dog-friendly area, you’re likely to hear conflicting information when it comes to regulations concerning those dogs. In Summit County, you’re required to register and purchase a license for your pet dog. You’re also required to use a leash, everywhere!
Summit County’s leash laws webpage cites the U.S. Forest Service requiring that dogs be on a 6-foot leash and that if they’re caught off leash in wilderness areas it’s a $125 fine. According to an employee at Summit County Animal Control, their inability to follow up on this is purely a budgetary issue. They mentioned that although the regulations do exist, there isn’t anyone available to enforce them.
Tuesday morning, while trail running, I encountered a woman walking with three extra-large dogs, possibly Great Danes. They growled at me, and one charged. I politely asked her to please put them on leashes and was met with a tirade of hollering that she doesn’t have to do anything. Fully understanding the idea of having your dog heel while someone passes, there is no way she could have controlled all three of them if something suddenly happened at that point or during the rest of her walk. Without anyone available to enforce her fines, and without sufficient signage, she’s right, she doesn’t have to do anything. But is that fair? Will it be fair if next time I disable her party with bear spray?
Frankly, the easy solution here is to post signage. If there are signs that say “Leash, please! $125 fine,” there is no longer room for discussion about what dog owners can and cannot do regardless if someone is available to enforce it. For what it’s worth, I really like dogs, my problem is seemingly with some of their owners.
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