Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Outlaw Pooches

No, those aren't the Outlaws.  That's just Kim, Max and Bella (left to right).  How adorable are they, and how cute that B was holding onto her stuffed panda toy that matches Max's "style" so perfectly?

And SNOW!  Yep, that's right.  Our first mini-snowstorm of the season.  Of course, it was all gone by that afternoon, but hey.  Winter is coming!  Uh, ahem, tell that to our 60-degree weather today...

Dogs On The Run

Interesting editorial in the link above from one of our local papers, The Sheet, regarding leash laws. On the one hand, responsible dog ownership means keeping your pup - as well as others' pups - safe. On the other, how sad would it be if our pups were never given the freedom to experience the world without being tethered to their owner (and that owner's perspective). Am I the only one who thinks our pups need to feel complete independence every now and then to live a truly satisfied life? What are your thoughts on this touchy subject?

I was informed by the owner of one of my current daycare pups that he was attacked last week by an off-leash pup right on her street! That had to be so scary for her (and him, poor guy). He's healing well, but the frustrating part is that this owner still continues to allow his dog to go for walks off-leash...

Visit us on Facebook and go to the "Discussions" page to comment.  Sorry, we don't have comments up on this blog, but I really want to hear your thoughts on this one, so please comment there (and "Like" us while you're at it - well, if you do like us!)

What will it take for people to take responsibility?

Social pressure? Stricter laws? Perhaps mandated education programs for anyone who wants to adopt a dog? What do you think? What's the answer here - or, more likely, what are the answers?

The one thing that the article (Dogs On The Run) didn't address is poo-pickup. Especially in the winter, if your pup is off-leash, how in the world are you going to make sure that you're picking up their waste? I've been guilty of the "If it's more than 5 feet off the trail, it's fine if I don't go get it" rule in the winter. The problem with this is that

1) Dog waste is horrible for the environment, especially plant life. Contrary to popular belief (according to my own unscientific survey), dog poo is NOT just like that of wildlife, or the cows we have roaming around places like Crowley Lake & the Upper Owens river. The high percentage of protein content makes for a toxic "result".

2) Even though that hot poo may sink into the fresh powder in the winter - surprise, surprise - it doesn't actually disappear! And just because your dog prefers "privacy" and chooses a potty spot that's 15 feet from the trail, it doesn't mean that some future hiker won't wander off the trail and ... ahem ... stumble upon your pup's little gift. Come on, you've never gone off-trail? If you do, I highly suggest watching your step!

3) Letting our pups experience the world off-leash is a privilege, not a right. We've already been punished in the Shady Rest area in the winter because of our lax attitude on waste pickup. Dog walkers lost the unofficial privilege to let their pups frolic off-leash in Winter 2008-09. Tickets are now being handed out by the snowmobile-bound DFG. I believe it's something like $50 to pay the fine.

I personally stopped taking my pups there a few years ago because of the disgusting state of the trail. No wonder the cross-country crowd complained! This is another case of "If I ignore it, it didn't happen", laziness and a lack of facilities available for walkers to do a good job of cleanup. Sure, your pup's little pile is small, but just think about what happens to that pile when it's run over by the visiting snowmobile-rs!

Who's The Poo Sheriff In This Town?

It's one of my goals to be a leader here in the community on this issue. After all, our 2-Hour Adventure Hike service is dependent upon access to safe, off-leash areas near town. We really want to figure out the best way to address this issue. It's not as simple as it first sounds:

If we designate a fenced "off-leash dog park" here in town, who will be responsible for cleanup? Who will plow the snow around or in the park, as well as in the parking lot? As the snow piles up, will we need an adjustable fence to compensate for snow height? How will this work and who will take care of it? How will we fund the facility? Will we attempt to ask for funds from the MLTPA (basically from the town budget), or is this something we can run with the help of volunteer efforts and donations? Insurance for facilities of this sort is quite expensive! Do we enact rules to keep the pups safe? Will we only allow social, friendly pups inside? What is the evaluation process for those who'd like to join? Will we rent the materials needed (fencing, snow equipment, trash barrels), or will they be permanent fixtures? How will we go about getting a permit to open the facility (who will do the research & write up the application... okay that'll probably be myself...)? Where will it be located?

Lots to think about, lots to figure out. I would love the input of the community, which includes both local clients as well as visitors to town, since you are most certainly also impacted by off-leash dogs.

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* Note: Try and keep the discussion to experiences in and around Mammoth Lakes, since there is a different sort of "vibe" here than in most urban communities.