Dog owners need to be civil to and respect others |

Dog owners need to be civil to and respect others

To the Editor:

We enjoyed your article on the Engels. After 48 years of coming to the Fraser Valley and skiing Winter Park, we feel at home. Our children and grandchildren are now skiing here, which brings me to the reason for this letter:

On Saturday after Thanksgiving, my family went for a walk on the Fraser River Trail. My middle granddaughter, 5, is seriously afraid of dogs after frightening experiences with a neighbor’s aggressive German shepherds. As we meandered along the trail, an exuberant Irish setter came out of a grove of trees on the hillside and came bounding towards our group.

My daughter-in-law, seeing the dog, picked up the 5-year-old. When the child saw the dog approaching, she started screaming and trying to climb onto her mother’s shoulders. The dog naturally enough came to investigate and jumped up on my daughter-in-law.

The adults realized that an Irish setter was unlikely to harm anyone and easily shooed the dog away, but my granddaughter was terrified and difficult to calm down. Not knowing about differences in breeds, she felt attacked.

Meanwhile, the dog’s owner came running toward us, carrying the dog’s leash. One of our group suggested that the dog should be leashed, but its owner simply ran on.

We turned back with a crying child.

Shortly thereafter the dog and its owner came running toward us again. This time the dog ran through the group without incident, but the owner, still carrying the leash, retorted, “Your kids should be on a leash”.

Not helpful. As a dog owner, I was distressed that she was so irresponsible. “Dogs rule” behavior leads to the need for leash laws and the closure of trails and areas to dogs.

Would leash laws help? Maybe. Who will enforce them with irresponsible owners? One animal control officer in the whole of Grand County is not likely to have much impact.

My own call is for more civility and mutual respect. Meanwhile, the time has come for leash laws, and signs, for the Fraser River Trail.

Fortunately, my wife, an attorney, was not along. She says she might have restrained the dog and called the sheriff. Is that civil?

Joe Markey

Castle Rock

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