Thursday, January 28, 2010


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!


Anonymous said...

My interaction with IHS personal is similar and I refuse to make any further contributions to the IHS. During the winter, IHS personal would sit in their vehicle at the park across from my home for over an hour. This is at at time when the temperature was below 32 degrees and there were no people in the park. I approached the vehicle, one person was reading a book and the other was just sitting. When asked about the use of there time, the make was very abrasive. If IHS is going to use what limited funds it has in this manner, I will not support it.

marianne said...

thanks for your comment. enforcement is contracted by the city and not paid for by donations. two separate things. as far as green parks go, ihs is often called by neighbors. elm grove is one park where this happens consistently. not excusing any abrasive interaction, merely explaining how the funding works, because it's a shame for much needed funds to be reduced because of a misunderstanding about how they're used.

Anonymous said...

I am not in favor of donating to any organization that accepts money to sit in a vehicle with the motor running, at a city park, for one hour. IHS could certainly make a recommendation that enforcement funds could be better utilized by focusing on park surveillance when there are actually people in the park and determine better ways to utilize the funds that would benefit Boise City. At a minimum, it is irresponsible management. I find this practice quite offensive especially in light of significant needs that are not being addressed and Boise's financial crisis.

matt said...

I've not had any negative experiences with IHS enforcement. I always say hello when I pass them and they always say hello back.

It bears repeating that many dog owners did request additional enforcement of existing rules. I have heard that the enforcement officers get treated pretty badly, in general. Try to put yourselves in their shoes. To the person who relayed the story in the post - to plead ignorance or confusion about the rules is not a legitimate excuse to have your dogs off leash in the wrong place. I find it hard to believe that a 30 year trail user didn't know that the sign that says on leash actually means that your dog must be on a leash. Confusion after this many years with the current system - I don't buy it.

marianne said...

thanks for your comments. anonymous- i think that if you have ideas for ways to improve enforcment it would be great to contact the city and share them.

matt- i share many of your thoughts and said as much to the caller. but i wasn't there and i also know how annoyed i get when i feel like i'm being scolded.

Douglas said...

Does anyone know the leash rule for 8th street road/extension? I see people getting tickets in the parking lots and trails of Lower Hulls Gulch, but I'm wondering if 8th street road/extension itself is on or off leash? It isn't signed.

marianne said...

basically, if something isn't marked off leash, and unless it's private property, it's on leash. that includes streets, for the safety of dogs and vehicles.