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Can We Please End the War on Dogs?

Did you know every 3 minutes someone is viciously attacked by a dog in Park City… or so you might think if you read editorials in the Park Record and visit Park City’s Suggestion website, “Let’s Talk Park City”. For instance, there is this gem on, “Tired of people who think it’s o Kay to let their dogs run and force me to stop my exercising because i do not know what their animal is going to do. They also are notorious for leaving the **** bags for someone else to pick up. Tired of this entitlement attitude.”

Then there is Muriel Valle who writes a letter to the editor in today’s Park Record, “My husband and I have been coming to Park City for the month of August for the last three years to escape the heat in Phoenix…  I do not appreciate dogs bounding up to me all over the place and would hope that the city of Park City will address this problem … I will be following closely the follow up to this problem in Park City. Hopefully, we will be able to return to enjoy your lovely location next year.”  My response, “Please just don’t come back Muriel”.  If the beauty of our town isn’t enough to overcome a dog bounding toward you, well there are probably better places for you to visit.   I hear St Augustine Florida is really nice and slow.

I don’t doubt there are occasions when dogs do jump on people or encroach on people’s exercise.  I just don’t see it that often.  In 5 years of hiking Round Valley, the Rail Trail, the Millennium  trail, and others, the number of obnoxious dogs I have encountered could be counted on one and a half hands.  In that time, I have definitely accidentally stepped in horse manure at Round Valley that was not “picked up”, almost been knocked down by mountain bikes going to fast, got pushed out of the way by skate skiers, and been yelled at by race runners who didn’t understand that our trails are shared.

Typically this is when an article like this goes into a long diatribe about how we need to share our trails and just get along.  That is true, but I’ll go a different direction.  Just stop.  People writing letters to the editor, people complaining about some 15 year old Jack Russell Terrier walking in front of them on the trail, people just generally bitching about dogs… stop.  You’ve said your piece.  You are now just getting on our nerves.

County Council person  Roger Armstrong  heard you and started Summit County on a year long mission to figure out the dog situation.  County Council person Kim Carson managed that year long mission and a committee of local citizens tasked to figure it all out.  What did they figure out?

Dogs are complicated.

What I will tell you is that I have seen more dogs on leash in the last few weeks, than ever before.  You’ll often hear the owner say something like, “yeah Mitsy is fine off-leash, but Bruno just doesn’t get along too well with other dogs, that’s why he’s leashed.”  Perfect.  A responsible dog owner acting a little different than she did before.   I attribute that difference to the work our elected officials have already spent on this issue.

So, to those of you still complaining about off-leash dogs, you have already won.  Your elected officials heard you, spent a lot of time, came up with a few things to help, and people took it on their own to be more responsible.  In the words of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, “I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.”

The next time an elderly dog wanders in front of you on your run, please remember that we are all lucky to live in this place.  Its beautiful but not perfect.  No amount of complaining is going to bring perfection.  But dogs or not, it’s pretty close.



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