When will more dog owners wise up? John McCleary at Anchorage Parks and Rec has issued the following public notice in response to a bad incident this week in which two unleashed dogs caused a horse to throw it's rider, breaking the woman's leg:
"Last night two horse back riders came across a couple with a German Shepard-mix dog and a Labrador-mix dog on a Hilltop trail, off leash. (They were not in the off-leash area.) The dogs ran barking at the horses and did not respond to the owners voice commands at all. The horses were finally calmed down but the dogs persisted and finally one horse lost his nerve and dumped his rider, causing her to break her leg. The dog owners were not sympathetic to the situation and seemed unconcerned with the fact they were told there dogs should be leashed. In fact, they were somewhat indignant to the fact they were considered responsible for the situation, I was told. This happened on a trail near the Abbott Road/front Hilltop parking lot area and the horses had to be trailered home, while the rider was taken to the hospital.
"PLEASE urge trail users to remind people that they meet on the trail that their dogs should be on leash in most areas. The situation could have easily been turned around and one of the dogs kicked, causing a broken leg (which could happen quite easily with a loose dog nipping at a horse). Dogs on leash help promote safety for everyone using the trail system."
OK, I'm doin' my part. If you own a dog, please keep it on a leash. No, your beloved little pile of shit and fur is not an exception. Unless you're in an off-leash zone, keep your mutt on a leash.
At all times.
As someone who was attacked and bitten by an unleashed dog on the trails last fall, I'll go even further and encourage all dogless trail users to carry bear spray.
With all the brown bears in the area, and salmon preparing to swim up Campbell Creek, bear spray is a good idea on the Hillside anyway, and if an unleashed dog gives you attitude, you can defend yourself by nuking the bastard.