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I agree with Brian K. Laurent Jr.'s proposal outlined in his June 17, 2005, My Turn article. Our community needs to compromise on this issue. Dogs will always be a part of our community and they deserve careful consideration of their safety and wellness by all in our community. Mr. Laurent seems to have taken this into consideration in his proposal.
One of my earliest memories of my dog was letting him off his leash at a football field with a track around it. While my excited dog was running to and fro, he spotted a runner and started to chase her (a favorite pastime in our house). The runner got scared and stopped to fend off my dog.
Confused, I asked my father why she did that, he was only being friendly. My dad explained that she has no way of knowing our dog's intention. Every time I encounter an unleashed dog I remember that incident. Because, no one really knows how any animal is going to react.
While using trails in Juneau, I rarely come across an unleashed dog that is in sight of its owner. They are usually around the bend from the dog, not always traveling toward the dog. I've always wondered how an owner would know that their dog needs their help, guidance and/or control.
My worries are for the dog as well as the people on the trails. I would hate to see a dog injured or worse happen, just because an animal was not kept on a leash. The dog that was lost recently to a wolf is a case in point. Mr. Huteson lost his beagle, Tank, to a black wolf on March 16, 2005, near the Dredge Lakes Trail. Tank was not on a leash.
Please keep people and pets safe by having specific off leash areas and enforce the leash required areas.