i got a call from a woman yesterday who has had a few bad experiences with the ihs enforcement officers. she called ridge to rivers and the humane society and didn't feel like either one took her complaint seriously.
i am just relating the conversation here. since i wasn't present, i don't have an opinion one way or the other. but she was clearly upset, so i'm going to share what she had to say.
this woman and her husband have used the trails for 30 or so years. they clean up after their dog and pick up opp. she feels that the current signs are confusing and was not aware that the sign that says "on leash trail" means that the trail starts right there, at that spot, rather than being a warning that an on leash trail is coming up. she has discussed this with her friends and most agree with her. (note to readers to dispell any confusion- the on leash portion of the trail starts at the sign).
she and her husband felt ridiculed and talked down to by the officers, she used the term power trip a few times. she said comments like "bet you don't have a leash" and "bet you don't have a bag" were made. the dog owners have been cited 3 times over the past year.
her complaint sounded a lot like the last time i got a speeding ticket. the officer wanted to scold me. i just wanted him to write the ticket and be done with it. i'm old enough to know i made a mistake and to take responsibilty for it. scolding serves no useful purpose. (this, again, from our conversation. i am certain that, as is always the case, there is another side to the story.)
a little history- many dog owners requested increased enforcement of existing rules rather than having additional restrictions put in place when the off leash dogs on trails issue was hot a few years ago. it is our responsibility as dog owners to understand and follow the rules. the role of the officers is one of education as well as enforcement.
i have heard people say that they won't support the humane society any more because they provide the enforcement on trails & in parks. this really bothers me. money sent to the ihs goes to care for the animals there, pure and simple. the officers are contracted by the city as part of animal control. the city pays for the service, not your contribution to the humane society.
i told the woman that i would pass her story along. i asked her to send me an email, which i haven't gotten yet, so i thought i'd go ahead & write it up here.
i'd also like to remind all dog owners that we do need to learn and follow the existing rules. there's no guarantee that things won't change. if parks and ridge to rivers get a lot fo complaints about unruly dogs or a lot of poop we're going to be going right back down the same road we were on a few years ago.
here's hoping that things dry out soon!