Taffy: Who let the dogs out?
As a lifelong resident of Steamboat Springs, I would like to address the recent letters and articles regarding our leash law enforcement.
For the record, I am a border collie born in Hayden and playing on the Steamboat trails off leash for 15 years. I live with three other dogs, and our favorite thing to do (other than ride in the car) is to go running on Spring Creek, Emerald, Skyline and other local trails. However, the recent increase of leash law enforcement has changed our outings.
It’s not that we dogs are so opposed to the leash law. After all, we love to be outside with our owners under any conditions. We appreciate the need for leashes in some situations. I personally learned my lesson when I was attacked on a trail twice and had a run-in with a moose. Both events were scary.
When I was younger and spryer, my mom would leash me when we encountered another leashed pet on the trail, or if the trail was super crowded. To this day, anytime we are on the core trail or downtown, I am leashed and grateful to have that safety net.
Unfortunately, the recent increase in the enforcement of leash laws has created issues between community members. It seems to me the problem is this: how to fairly manage and enforce the leash law.
It is not about all dog owners must have all freedom all the time. We dogs know we can’t have our bones and eat them too. It is understandable that other pet owners and/or non-owners may be fearful or have concerns based on past experiences.
We pets can feel the same way. Those pet owners who want unrestricted off leash 24/7 should acknowledge those fears. Those who think leash laws are necessary 24/7, no matter the circumstances, could hopefully understand pet owners wanting to give us pets freedom to run on the trails under certain conditions.
We dogs do not like to be scared of another dog that is not under control or wildlife. Yet, we do like to be able to explore, run and play at appropriate times off our leash.
My mom has told me other towns have come up with solutions to this problem. One idea would be for all of you guys to get together and create a task force made up of pet owners, non-pet owners, one council member and the animal control officers (and maybe even a dog) to strategize a solution.
We dogs love the fact that Steamboat is Dog Town USA — it is a great place to be a dog. This is too stellar of a community to be so severely divided against one another and to treat the animal control officers disrespectfully. We are better than that.
Our community comes together for so many causes — we rally to help each other out when some of us experience hard times, and we support and lift each other up during the shoulder seasons when times can be tough for many. We embody the true sense of community that is unique to Steamboat Springs.
I firmly believe we can come together and find a mutual workable solution for all: pet owners, non pet-owners and the wildlife that shares our community. We are ready to play!
Steamboat Springs border collie
My owner is Janne Siegel
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