Dogs running free in wildlife areas: not cool

I have posted several times about dogs off leash. Please bear with me for two more descriptions of dog owner idiocy.

We had a lovely day of riding yesterday at the local state park. I rode Scoot, the Gentleman, and Earl rode Hannah, the Baby. We celebrated the Baby’s ninth birthday, which is actually today. Coming into the park, we noticed a woman riding a horse with a dog tagging along, running here and there. It has been a long time since we had seen such blatant disregard for a natural area. I called the ranger, but she was busy with something else. She stopped us on the trail to apologize for not getting there in time. While chatting, we saw another couple down by the reservoir with their dog off leash. Since that area is county jurisdiction rather than state, the ranger couldn’t do anything about it.

As we rode along, we noticed the couple had moved onto the trail we were using. We also noticed the ranger stopping her truck to get out and give these people a ticket. Bravo! We passed them, silent but gleeful.

Other than the scare we could get from a wayward dog, I think of the serious dangers to dogs when owners think it’s cool to let their dog run loose in the wild, free to be.

First, there are rattlesnakes all over our natural areas. While this is not the time of year to see them, many the curious pooch has been a victim of an irritated rattler, not always with a happy outcome.

Second, there are two packs of coyotes in the park. Right now, they are bearing their young. Generally, they don’t bother domestic animals, as there is ample food supply for them. There was an article in the paper the other day about urban coyotes and how they do like to munch on Fluffy the cat, or mix it up with Fido the pup. One roving coyote which attacked a local dog regularly received food tossed to it out of the drive-up window of a local fast food joint. I guess it thought it was entitled to living fast food.

Third, there are some really big kitties up at the park. I’m talking about mountain lions primarily, also called pumas, catamounts or cougars; bobcats, and the rare lynx. I’ve never seen one, but while riding our old mare, Marcie, heard one roar. I thought it was a boat motor from the reservoir until I saw Marcie’s ears go into predator alert. Marcie and I heard the roar twice. Later, by the water, we heard boat motors, and I knew we had come close to a mountain lion.

I’d love nothing more than to see the Wonder Husky run wild and free. I would also curl up and die if anything happened to her that could have been prevented by using common sense and obeying posted rules. 

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