As Durango thaws out and trails become more accessible, it seems everyone has the same idea – hit the trails and enjoy the open space and public lands where we live.
Of course, Durango is a dog town, so many people are bringing their furry friends along for hikes, runs and even bike rides.
While I can’t complain about this in concept; in fact, I love seeing and interacting with dogs on the trail; there is one major exception – unruly and off-leash dogs.
Not that long ago, I was approached and bitten by a dog of such description and unfortunately my response has been that of discomfort and PTSD since then. Now, when a dog comes racing towards me barking, teeth showing and no sign of reasonable control by the owner, my first instinct is to protect myself. Indeed, in most areas I am recreating, it is the law that (at the very least) dog owners have voice command, but more often the dog is on a 6-foot or shorter leash.
The leash law concept is put into use by the Forest Service, BLM, county and city in many cases to protect wildlife, minimize disturbance to other users and protect the dog.
Being familiar with the leash laws in the areas we are recreating and having control over our dogs can help create more enjoyable recreation opportunities for everyone in the greater Durango region.