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 Post subject: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 16, 2019 1:39 pm 
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Living in a smaller community, especially in the expanse of the foothills, we often have unusual "friendships" with our neighbors. We say hello, hear snippets of their lives, we’re here to help, but mostly just let each other live a quiet life. Occasionally I hear a story that I think should be shared because it goes against the values of why we live here.

After vising Beaver Ranch over the past 20 years, I have often run into my neighbor on the trail. He's always smiling, stops to chat about the weather and in these moments of conversation, I've pieced together the outline of his life. He is about 70 young years old now and a Conifer native - and that's pretty rare. He grew up here, moved away just long enough to appreciate what he missed and came back to raise his family. His wife passed away a few years ago so the highlight of his day has been walking his old dog at Beaver Ranch (oh, I guess it's called Conifer Community Park now!). This is the third dog I've seen him own. The dog, like his owner, is kind, always smiling but now half blind, arthritic and walks by his side…despite not being on a leash (gasp). He always carried a doggie-doo bag and a walking stick.

I lit up when I saw him last week on the back trail. It had been awhile and since it was a perfect spring day, I knew he'd be raving about the great weather. It makes me appreciate it even more to hear it coming from him. But as he approached, his brow was furrowed, and he was trembling. I asked what was wrong and he took a deep breath. “I was walking (my dog) and let her get into the little runoff creek because it helps to ease her arthritis and I had an angry man come up to me yelling at me to get my dog on the leash. She was just a few feet away. I called her back to me and she came right back and sat down and the entire time, this man was yelling at me. Asking me if I know about the Jefferson County leash law and that my dog was disturbing the wilderness. As he’s yelling at me, a Denver Zipliner goes screaming overhead and everyone is whooping and hollering. Now, tell me who is disturbing the wilderness?! So I put her on the leash and he just won’t stop screeching at me. I asked him where he’s from and he says it doesn’t matter. Says he works for the park and that he going to call the authorities on me, like I’m some kind of murderer. Tells me to use the dog area. I said, “You mean the parking lot you fenced in? You cut down all the trees last year so there is no shade. It’s just a pile of dirt now….”. He wouldn’t even give me his name, just telling me how I’m breaking the law and not to come back.”

My observation after half a century hiking the earth is that the vast majority of dog owners, own dogs because they have an elevated appreciation of nature. It’s why they own dogs…to be connected to the earth by loving one of its creatures. They respect wildlife and yes, while there are always the one or two with obnoxious dogs that leave their dog doo (or more stupidly, leave the bag with the doo!), the clear majority are respectful of people, wildlife and the earth. Most are just seeking out a few moments of peace and joy that comes from letting their dogs run in a field with joy. They pay taxes that pay for the parks. 89.7 million people own dogs in the U.S. and the percentage of dog ownership is higher in the foothills than the rest of the U.S. Dog owners do have power, but after all the years of “Dogma” of the dangers of dogs interfering with wildlife or biting people, they’ve been lulled into submission. Many dog owners won’t/can’t let their dogs off leash because they’ll run away. There is only a small percentage that would even let their dogs off leash. These people want to still be respectful of those who don’t have dogs, but it’s time they speak up for the rights of those who do.

We all understand why there are leash laws. Yes, we need law and order, but somewhere along the way, we forgot that laws can be reevaluated or flexed, and they need to be filtered through common sense. This person was not even a Park Ranger, but he single-handedly took away the peace and joy of this old man who calls this place home. He will never be able to come to his park without the thought of this person threatening him.

Speak up. Let’s hear about your interaction with the Park Rangers up here. Is this an anomaly or the norm? Maybe it’s time that dog owners speak up and demand that some of the tax money, that they pay too, be used for some larger areas with off leash capability. Or, maybe have a few hours set aside each day for off leash? What do you suggest for a compromise? There is one, we just need to find it.


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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 16, 2019 3:53 pm 
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My observation after half a century hiking the earth is that the vast majority of dog owners, own dogs because they have an elevated appreciation of nature. It’s why they own dogs…to be connected to the earth by loving one of its creatures.

I disagree completely with that statement.

I have lived here well over forty years and I never had a dog and I'm a lot more "connected to the earth" because of it. I have chipmunks and ground squirrels, pine squirrels and Abert's and common squirrels, deer (I saw my first new born fawn of the year this morning) and elk, bobcats and foxes and coyotes, bears and mountain lions, and birds - lots and lots of birds. I enjoyed the natural wildlife and a domesticated dog isn't natural to the area. I didn't have a dog because it would be harmful to the natural wildlife to let a dog run wild, and think it would be a shame to have a dog in the woods and keep him restrained, because I like dogs.

You have a dog, I hope you don't just open the door in the morning and let it run.

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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 16, 2019 4:35 pm 
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ConiferCommunity wrote:
Let’s hear about your interaction with the Park Rangers up here. Is this an anomaly or the norm?

I do not believe that person was a Park Ranger. My husband and I hike the JeffCo OSP trails quite often. The Park Rangers AlWAYS have some type of insignia on their clothing indicating that person is with JeffCo OSP. And every single ranger we ever encountered has been polite and friendly. I have seen a ranger write up a ticket for a dog off leash. I think that was a person who hates dogs and took it upon himself to berate the dog owner.

Most dog owners that we encounter on the trail are polite, make sure their dog is on leash and not able to come close to us. A few dogs come close enough for us to pet and "say hello" and most of these owners apologize, but we tell them it's OK with us, we like dogs.

We have had several unpleasant, even scary encounters with dogs on the JeffCo trails. At Meyers, a dog off leash, came up behind me and was big enough that when he jumped on me, he knocked me over. A second dog came up and started jumping on me also. My husband ran back and chased them off me. The owner came up the trail and complained to my husband that he was "being mean to his dogs and his dogs were friendly and harmless" and said he was going to complain to JeffCo. My husband got out our iPhone, took his picture, and called the park people and reported this guy right then and there.

Another time, a couple was hiking in the opposite direction with 3 German Shepherds, all on leash. When they came abreast of us, the biggest one jumped at my husband, fangs bared, and missed his neck and shoulder by about 2 inches because my husband reacted quickly. This dog was so big, he pulled the guy owner over as the dog lunged at my husband and dragged him down the trail. This dog should never have been on the trail, leash or no leash.

Hard to believe but some people are deathly afraid of dogs. I worked with a woman who was and she wouldn't hike because she was so terrified of any dog, no matter how friendly. And owners who say "don't worry, he's friendly, likes people" don't realize that a stranger to any dog can cause the dog to react differently.

So on the very popular trails, I do think the leash law is the proper rule. I rarely see any dog off leash any more but would never say something to their person.

Bobcat wrote:
ConiferCommunity wrote:
My observation after half a century hiking the earth is that the vast majority of dog owners, own dogs because they have an elevated appreciation of nature. It’s why they own dogs…to be connected to the earth by loving one of its creatures.


I disagree completely with that statement.


I do also. We do not have a dog and appreciate nature just fine without one.

ConiferCommunity wrote:
Maybe it’s time that dog owners speak up and demand that some of the tax money, that they pay too, be used for some larger areas with off leash capability. Or, maybe have a few hours set aside each day for off leash?

There is a solution, let the dog owners fence in their own property and provide their own dog park.

As to using more tax dollars, it would take much, much more money to provide one dog park and than all the trail maintenance in the rest of the park. And the percentage of people using the dog park would be a fraction of those who use the picnic areas and trails.

Remember why the dog park at Elk Meadows closed? Because too many dog owners did not clean up after their dogs.

And I won't start on the plastic bags of poop along the trail, waiting for the poop fairy to come clean up the area after them.


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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 8:27 am 
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As someone who has been attacked by unsupervised dogs 3 times in the last 15 years while biking and exercising my 'appreciation of nature', I would suggest that there is a perfect place for off leash dogs: on their OWN PROPERTY.

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He will never be able to come to his park without the thought of this person threatening him.


And I cannot bike down by the river without the thought of some unleashed dog taking another bite out of my ankle.

Years ago, my ex-girlfriend an I we're hiking along a narrow path in Waldo Canyon, A HUGE unleashed dog came running down the trail and sent her on her backside. The owner came scurrying by and made some stupid comment about his 'big happy puppy". She looked up at me and said, "the problem with dog owners is that they think everyone loves their dog". Perfectly stated. I won't even get into the endless barking problems and poop bags on trails.

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What do you suggest for a compromise?


Obey the leash laws, and find another resource other than my tax dollars for your dog's entertainment.


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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 9:00 am 
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Taranis wrote:

Obey the leash laws, and find another resource other than my tax dollars for your dog's entertainment.


:exactly: I never walked any of my dogs off leash. I didn't know if they were going to be "friendly" with strangers. I know of folks that can keep their dogs under voice command. It is also dangerous for the dog too.

And yes Taranis, why should we pay taxes for your animal's entertainment?

We have ALWAYS fenced our property so that our dogs had their own space/park to play and no chance of biting or attacking strangers unless they opened the gate.

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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 9:30 am 
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I'm very sorry that your neighbor was so intimidated by another person while walking his dog. That could have and should have been handled calmly. The dog belongs on a leash. Period.

I have had and loved and received more from many dogs in my life. Right now for the first time in many years I am without a dog. None of the reasons for having them had to do with 'an elevated appreciation of nature', which I do feel I possess.

Dogs are companions and service animals and working parts of farm life. But they are not part of nature. And I think you are wrong about your characterizations regarding 'most' or 'few".

In my experience many people are careless and even reckless in keeping dogs. The people that take total responsibility for their animals are few.

Some elevate their animals to the status of children and are dumbfounded when there's blow back about restaurants not having 'dog friendly' areas.

I love my dogs, I don't want to go out to dinner and eat with yours. Service animals being the exception, but now people attempt to 'fake' that designation as well. Dogs need exercise and enjoy being outdoors but all that can and should be done either on your property or by your responsible search for areas where off leash conditions exist. And you better be sure the other dogs and owners are socialized and have nice manners. Many do not...

I guess you aren't on FB community pages much. Daily there are multiple reports of dogs at large, some known and repeat offenders. They are in traffic, they are harassing poultry, they are running wildlife and the fawns are here now. They bark incessantly and even the leashed ones crap all over the mixed use trails and the owners are indifferent.

Some 'person' allowed for three large either malamute or wolf hybrid dogs to terrorize an area of Burland recently, that saw the slaughter of a score of chickens and witnesses saw one carrying a little dead dog and another had a duck which they dropped to try and breach a fence. The sheriff was called but it seems the owner finally collected his animals and disappeared with them without consequence that I'm aware of. And this 'person' was known to be careless in containing these animals in the past.

We must err on the side of caution in most things and that can be done without intimidation to an elderly gent and his well behaved dog. Its because of the conduct of too many clueless, careless, reckless dog owners that there are leash laws in effect and your old gentleman needs to honor them as well as everyone else.

If it means that much to him he must find an off leash place designated for that purpose. There is no compromise. Its his responsibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 10:03 am 
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it always comes down to dog poop that ruins it for everyone. oh and add dog fights and attacks. that seems to shut it all down. Keep them on a leash.

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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 10:18 am 
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It really depends on the dog owner on training their dog. Most owners simply do not have the time or ability to fully train their dog. I am always training my dogs. Anyone that has meet my dogs know that they will follow my command. They do not bark or chase anything without release. I also know that takes over 2,000 hours of training for that to be sure. Granted I do not take them on popular trails. I got my previous dog certified as a service animal by appearing before a board, something I think should be required to call a dog a “service animal”.

Jeffco Ordinance: Policy Manual, Part 3 Regulations, Chapter 5 Animals, Section 1 Animal Control Regulation
“Control" means physical control of a dog by means of a leash, cord or chain no longer than ten (10) feet in length except when the dog is actually working livestock, locating or retrieving wild game in season for a licensed hunter, or assisting law enforcement officers, or while actually being trained for any of these specifically enumerated pursuits.
d. Dog at Large or Off Leash or Encroachment Causing Property Damage A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if his/her dog is at large or off leash or commits encroachment and, as a result of any one of the foregoing, causes property damage as defined in this regulation.

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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 10:48 am 
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If this is the same place, Beaver Ranch down Foxton, there is an off-leash fenced area for dogs. Or there was. It isn't the parking lot. It's up past the office and large meeting building and up the hill. It's fenced and treed and there are benches. I took Scout and Maddy there twice when I first moved to Conifer from our 2 fenced acres in Bailey. The first time we were met with local dog trainers who had very good control of their own dogs and were socializing 'pupils'. It was a good experience. The second time I took them back we were the first dogs there and then a couple showed up with three dogs, one clearly aggressive and threatening to my dogs. They put that dog in an enclosure intended for little dogs but it continually charged the fence snarling and growling and barking and received no correction from them. They just let him do it. It made for an extremely unnerving situation, so I left. Exactly what the couple wanted... I hadn't even pulled out of the lot when they allowed their aggressive dog to join the others in the area we had just left. If another dog owner arrived and just let their dog into the enclosure assuming a happy play time, they might have had an altercation.
I never went back. Not worth the risk.


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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 17, 2019 3:36 pm 
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I am so very sorry that this happened to your friends - an older gentleman and his old arthritic dog just enjoying a quiet peaceful walk, apparently not bothering anyone or anything. I am not going to weigh in on the "on leash/off leash" issue on which so many have already expressed their opinions. I just feel badly that this happened in this way to this man and his old four legged friend. Be kind people. . . life is too short. Just be kind.


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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 18, 2019 11:56 pm 
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I have 3 rescue Goldens with very different personalities due to their backgrounds. If I were to let them off leash, 2 would want to play with and touch noses every forest animal neighbor that thhe saw; while the other would see them as "food" and want go off after them. It was how he survived before he was rescued/rounded up on the Lakota Sioux reservation. Even though he was about 6 months old at the time and he is now 10 yrs old, he still remembers. So when we can go walking, they always wear a leash. Even when we go from/to the house to the vehicle they are on a leash. If nothing else, I believe it is for their protection. They are my family and I will do all that I can to protect them and keep them safe. They are so used to wearing their leashes to go outside walking and stuff that when we go on "Dogcation" and stay at hotels or cabins, they paw at their leashes when they need to go out.

I view leashes as a tool to keep my family safe. I'll never take them to the off leash parks as I've tried that and all 3 ended up getting sick due to the park not being clean. That was a very expensive Vet bill. So, most of the time, we stick to our yard that is fenced for my fur babies. I made the expense when we moved here about 15 yrs ago to fence in 1 acre of land and create a very big back yard for our dogs and high enough they could not jump over; nor could they get through the rails as there is fencing between the logs. They have trees and a couple of natural boulders to jump on and run around when playing in the yard. I keep it very clean, not only for health reason, but because it serves as a very big play area as well for T/P. They all love playing in the yard together. And they are never in the yard by themselves, I am always with them for protection from predetors.

Even when we lived in Phoenix, we walked our dogs on leash where dogs could be on or off leash. While we were walking our 1 year old Golden Retriever puppies, 2 large sized dogs came over to attack our babies. I don't think we ever "scooped up" our puppies so fast in our lives and started kicking the dogs trying to get at the puppies. We were in disbelief when the owners of the attacking dogs came over and yelled at us for trying to kick their dogs away. I had to many scratches and a a bite from their dogs but the puppies were unharmed. I ended up having to go to the ER due to the bite. We were in a grassy area by ourselves and doing some training with the puppies and minding our own business. We did nothing to provoke being attacked. These dogs came out of no where, with no sign of owners anywhere. So my experience of dogs of leash is not very good.

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 Post subject: Re: Foothills Dog Owners - Untie and Unite!
Post Posted: Jun 19, 2019 6:51 am 
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With very few limited exceptions, if your dog is in a position to interact with the public, it should be leashed. It's for the dog's protection as much as anything else.

Just because someone is an (unmentionable body part), doesn't make having a dog off leash acceptable.

Apparently I have very differing views than the OP on dog ownership responsibilities and some other things. It's a shame the way the old man was treated, but that doesn't mean him having his dog off leash on a public hiking trail is acceptable. We're on the very far end of the spectrum in terms of being dog owners who basically live to provide for their dogs. So I get the part about making them happy. But just like it wouldn't be prudent to allow a small child to run around freely in certain areas (like in a restaurant where people are trying to enjoy a meal), the same is true for dogs. Sometimes they don't get what they want because it isn't appropriate in terms of safety or consideration to others.

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