Whoops! The heading leading to Ned Weatherby's letter of Aug. 10 that says, "Securing dogs in forest is the law" is not true. The Forest Service is not so foolish as to have a law that allows deer, elk, rattlesnakes, bears, lions, etc. to run free in the forest and then have a law that says "Dogs must be on a leash." There is no such law regarding open forest in the government's Code of Federal Regulations.
The Forest Service, as well as the Park Service, does have the authority to place instructions in forest campgrounds and national park trails and camps within the park that instruct pet owners to keep "Dogs on Leash." Signs are well posted. This is not true in the open forest. (CFR, Title 36, Part I, Public Use and Recreation).
It is unlikely that Mr. Weatherby has ever been to the site of the killing of Grant Kuenzli, which is "The Rim" start of the 10-mile Pine Trail. It is located near MP 281 on Hwy. 87. The late Mr. Kuenzli was legally playing and exercising these dogs in a large forested area when Mr. Fish topped out of the canyon, which happens suddenly. The dogs obviously ran toward him to be petted.
When the trial of Mr. Fish begins, evidence will be presented to show the character of the dogs as they were observed at the Payson Dog Park after the shooting. Also, there will be witnesses from members of the Payson Packer Hiking Club. They observed a friendly Mr. Kuenzli on a couple occasions while they were hiking in the forest when Mr. Kuenzli was exercising and playing with the dogs.
Furthermore, the Humane Society is run almost entirely by volunteers. It is not unusual for these volunteers to take dogs away and play with them at their homes. The Society was well within its rights to have Mr. Kuenzli take his own dog and two Society dogs into the forest to play and walk.
The most tragic situation was Mr. Fish having a gun. Unfortunately, in this country, there is a shaky claim that we all can possess a gun. That misguided law came about because early settlers thought Native Americans were "savages" when all the natives wanted was to keep what they had for centuries before the pale face came on the scene.
Dave Engleman, Payson