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Unleashed humans

July 17, 2014

One of the best things about Mammoth is that this town (and its people) love dogs. We often refer to Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra as the biggest dog park since dogs are welcomed in town and on our National Forest Service land (unlike national parks like Yosemite).

It seems as if everyone has a dog in Mammoth, as if it is a prerequisite to reside here.

Visitors also love Mammoth because they can bring their four footed friends with them. We have dog friendly hotels and businesses with doggie treats at check out counters.

Some employees of certain businesses (DIY Center, FedEx and UPS carriers) even carry doggie treats in their pockets since they encounter dogs on a daily basis.

At the Mammoth Times, we often have more dogs in the office than people, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Unfortunately, not all humans understand the full responsibility in owning a dog, and it saddens us to hear the recent dog encounters people have experienced lately.

One reader told us of her story at Horseshoe Lake. She was walking her 1-year old German Shepherd-Staffordshire Terrier mix on a leash when suddenly, an off-leashed golden retriever charged at them, scaring the puppy (and the owner).

In an effort to separate the two dogs, the golden retriever bit the hand of the human.

The owner of the golden claimed her dog was only coming over to say hello.

We didn’t think saying hello involved drawing blood.

Another reader was walking his black Labrador retriever when a loose, mixed breed dog approached them. With no owner in sight, but tags hanging off the stray’s collar, the human called the number and left a message.

In fear of the safety of the animal, the person took the stray to Whitmore Shelter. A few hours later, the owner called the human and chewed him out for “taking” his dog.

This irresponsible dog owner said he lets his dog out to do his business and the dog returns home on his own.

A month later, the same dog was running loose in the neighborhood again.

Another reader was walking her dog on the Lakes Basin bike path near Davison Road when a big, black, stray dog ran across the street to harass the owner and her on-leash dog.

The black stray growled and stalked the pair, and as the human yelled at the dog, two people pulled over to help scare the stray away. It wasn’t until a man pulled a wrench from his truck and charged the stray that the vicious animal ran off.

All of these stories involve one of the dogs running around off-leash.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes has a leash law for many good reasons, and we’d like to see more people abide by it, even if you think your dog is well behaved. That doesn’t mean other dogs are well behaved.

When it comes to taking your four-footer on hikes on public lands, the U.S. Forest Service requires dogs to be on a leash in developed areas, meaning trailheads and parking areas. Once on the trail, “dogs may remain on leash or under your direct control,” meaning voice.

Even if you have a good, obedient pup, we still encourage you to leash your dog.

Not everyone likes dogs, and in fact, plenty of people are afraid of them. Legal action could arise if your dog injures a person.

A dog bite victim in California can recover compensation under a special statute and the doctrines of negligence (and we all know California is a litigious state).

Be a good neighbor, be a good dog companion and leash your dogs.

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