Securing Dogs In Forest Is The Law

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Editor:

In the Friday, July 22 edition of the Payson Roundup, Dave Engleman's "Checking in on the Kuenzli matter" lambastes Otis Trimble for writing a letter that Engleman labels "outrageous."

Ignoring the fact that at least one of the dogs had a history of threatening a sheriff's deputy to the point that the deputy also "panicked" and drew his gun, the plain fact is, dogs should be secured on a leash, as the law requires. And apparently Mr. Fish's warning shot worked. The "friendly dogs" veered away.

Mr. Engleman then claims that "Grant Kuenzli did what I, or any other dog lover would have done, rushed to Mr. Fish to disarm him."

First of all, the statement that Mr. Kuenzli did what any other dog lover would have done -- "rushed to disarm an armed man" -- is patently ludicrous.

In reality, responsible "dog lovers" have their dogs secured. However, as a "dog lover," I have had many experiences where unsecured dogs have run out and attacked or harassed my dogs and me and/or my wife while we were on walks.

I have to question the judgment of the animal shelter personnel who allowed a homeless man to take dogs "home" with him. It's pretty clear that a homeless man won't be securing the dog behind a fence. And in this case, he apparently didn't bother to keep the dogs secured on leashes.

Perhaps his dogs were friendly, but people who are rushed by barking dogs have no idea of the intentions or temperament of the dogs. That appears to be the case here.

The bottom line is that nobody except Mr. Fish knows what really happened. Mr. Engleman -- despite his numerous letters on the subject, and his repetitive statements about what happened -- wasn't there either, and his statements of "fact" are not fact, but mere speculation.

Here are several etiquette hints: If you are hiking or camping in the forest, keep your dogs secured. It's the law, and a good one. Other hikers don't know your dogs, and may not want to know them. If your unsecured dogs "playfully" charge at someone, the mistake is yours. Don't make it worse.

And don't attempt to "disarm" an armed person, even if he just shot at your unsecured dog. He will likely not allow you to take his gun away from him. To prevent that from happening, he may actually shoot you.

A little common sense, good judgment and manners can go a long way toward avoiding conflicts. It really shouldn't have to be such a tough lesson.

Ned Weatherby, Payson

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