On New Year's Eve day I went hiking on the Highline Trail near Pine and was, at one point, confronted by two aggressive dogs one a rottweiler with neither leash nor owners to be found. I drew my pistol on them but held my fire and managed to withdraw without bloodshed.
This is the third such encounter I have had in the Pine and Strawberry areas in as many years.
This is not the only area in which I often hike or climb. I go to the trails and mountains in the Flagstaff area, Sedona's Red Rock country, the eastern Rim, Tucson's Catalinas, and in the Phoenix area, and in none of these places have I had this problem, only near where Highway 87 ascends the Mogollon Rim.
I am forced to the conclusion that these are not isolated incidents but reflect a pattern of irresponsibility among those who live there or keep cabins there.
Dog owners of Pine and Strawberry, I respect the lives of your pets and will open fire only if I must, but failure to secure your aggressive dogs may cause me or others to have to shoot them dead someday.
Worse yet, your pets may come upon those less able than I to defend themselves, and some innocent person, perhaps a young child, may be maimed or killed. If this does not bother your consciences, the criminal and civil liability you incur may trouble you. Further, allowing your dogs to roam freely in the forest may well result in their contracting rabies from wild animals and transmitting it to you.