It's Alaska: Make room for dogs

Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Obviously there is some tension between dog owners and the non-owners of Juneau. People need to realize that this is still Alaska. People here have the right to wear Xtra-tuffs to church, and let their dogs walk off-leash. If there was no problem with the dog, maybe there was a problem on Bill Johnson's end when he got bitten. The dog could have seen him as a threat to its owner and was protecting her. Dogs bite because they don't want you near them, or an area they may be protecting. Be it fear or whatever reason, the dog wants to put distance between himself and you. If a fearful dog cannot distance himself by running away, he will try to distance by putting on an aggressive display to intimidate you. How you react can mean the difference of whether you get bitten or not. Dogs are not out to get those who don't love dogs, and the owners do not try to be inconsiderate to those people. This is Alaska, and there is a large population of dogs.

To the people who hike the wooded trails and count dog poop: There is more scenery than to look down and hunt for the droppings of dogs. Take a look where you are at, in the woods where bears and other animals poop. Why can't dogs relieve themselves out there? I agree with some. Poop on the trail itself can be moved off the trail. But personally, I think dogs and their owners have just as many rights to run and play outside like you do. Trails in Juneau are not off-limits to dogs, so there needs to be compromise on both sides. Accusing people of being inconsiderate dog owners who don't read or follow rules is a fault on your end. Many people enjoy hiking with their dogs for one main reason: bear protection.

Tiffany Farrell


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