There is a cute little sign at the Verlot Ranger Station. It says “This is how you view your dog” next to a picture of an angelic looking dog wagging his tail. The next picture depicts a snarling monster with lots of teeth and the caption reads “This is how others view your dog.” The sign tells people to leash their dogs. After all, it is the law. I must be the only person who has read it, because I have never been on a trail without seeing unleashed dogs and ignorant owners with no control. I don’t dislike dogs. I have one, and every time we go out, she is on a leash.
On Feb. 2, my son and I were on the Heather Lake Trail, and came across four adults with two unleashed dogs. One of the dogs came around behind my son and bit him on the back of the leg. I reminded them of the leash law. They made no apologies. We walked a little ways and my son pulled up his pant leg to examine his leg and then I realized his skin had been broken. It was stupid on my part to not look at his leg immediately, and get information from the people and look at the dogs tags (assuming there are any).
I have worked in microbiology for 26 years and I know dogs mouths aren’t sterile. I ran back toward the group and kept yelling that my son’s skin was broken and I wanted to know if the dog had his rabies shots. They kept moving, pretending not to hear me. I kept running and yelling. Finally, they were at a switchback right below me and couldn’t keep pretending they couldn’t hear me, so one of the guys yelled “Yes.” The woman with the dog finally had it on a leash and would not look at me. There was no apology in any form, and no concern for my son. It is not only rabies you need to worry about. The proper thing to do is offer name and phone number because you are liable for medical expenses if your dog injures someone. Four adults acted like irresponsible children.
My husband’s response was, “that’s why you should carry a gun out there.” That is just a portion; I will spare you the rest. I don’t believe in killing a dog just because his owners are stupid, but keep in mind that there are hikers who do carry guns. Dog owners who don’t believe in leashes should keep that in mind.