The problem doesn't exist

Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2002

It was with interest that I read the excellent My Turn in Sunday's paper about the new push by our dog cop unit to leash all dogs on Juneau's trails and parks. My reaction was one of what brought this on? Is there really a problem here?

Related Column:

My Turn: Don't punish all for mistakes of a few

I walk my big Lab unleashed on the Juneau trails most every day and have done so for over six years now. He's well trained to both voice and whistle commands and I heel him up for approaching bicycles, families with small children or folks with their dog on a lead. I use the Mendenhall Wetlands Trail most of the time and have probably walked it in excess of a thousand times over the past six years. I've yet to encounter a problem. So where did this solution come from?

In my experience, bureaucrats often come up with solutions to nonexistent problems when one of two things happen. One, their work load drops, or two, they want to expand into new areas. In this case, I suspect the former.

After reading the My Turn, I started scratching my head and asking what has changed in our community that may have reduced the dog cop unit's workload? Answer? The bear policy.

I would guess residents are most likely to call the dog cops when free roaming dogs get into their garbage or leave deposits on their lawns. Since we've turned our community over to the bears, half of the reasons for calling the dog cops are gone. Even people not in compliance with the new garbage policy can't call because to do so would simply invite a ticket for improperly stored garbage.

Result? Dog cops with not enough to do so they are trying to fill the void by creating a solution to a nonexistent problem. Another solution comes to mind though. If the dog cops have enough time to harass citizens taking their dogs on supervised walks, then maybe the solution lies in applying what I call one of the three R's of organization management - reassign, retire or remove. Surely there are better ways to spend our tax dollars.

Walt Sheridan


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