People in Payson generally don't like fences. This is open-range country, where cows have the right of way and fences spoil the view.
With few fences dividing neighbors and hiding houses from the streets, the town seems friendly and inviting a place where people still wave to each other and don't worry much about crime.
This unfettered attitude, however, contributes to a particular community problem dogs at large.
To be fair, fences aren't really the problem irresponsible pet owners are but fences are often used as an excuse.
At first blush, letting dogs run wild may seem a trivial matter, but it's a sore point for the 40 or so people who were bitten by dogs in 1999.
Dogs at large contribute to Payson's burgeoning unwanted-pet population, cause traffic accidents and, at times, threaten pedestrians and other animals.
In 1999, the most recent year for which statistics are available, town taxpayers paid police officers and the town's animal control officer to collect 557 animals at large and restrain 81 vicious animals.
Pet owners who refuse to restrain and spay or neuter their animals are overwhelming the Payson Humane Society.
Between July 1999 and June 2000, the Payson Humane Society cared for 2,912 animals, found homes for 737 and was forced to kill 711.
Those are alarming statistics for a community this size. It's time for pet owners here to take their responsibilities seriously. Spay or neuter your pets and make sure they stay at home.