I am so glad this discussion of dogs on and off leash has been spurred.

Dog owners, Riverside County and state forest laws require all dogs to be leashed when in public.

Then why do we see dogs off leash in town, in campgrounds, and on trails? Ask the dog’s owner and you might hear, “Oh! He never strays,” or “She always comes when called. Always!”

Just last month, ARF received a call from a very distraught young man who was in Boulder Basin campground. He’d stopped just to admire the view and had his small dog with him … off leash.

Soon, another vehicle pulled in, and out jumped an unleashed, very large dog that immediately saw the small dog and gave chase. They both ran off, the small dog terrified. Eventually the larger dog returned, but the small dog continued running for its life.

Both owners swore their dogs could be trusted off leash, because “He always comes when called.” Regardless, the damage was done.

Fortunately, the small dog survived two nights in the forest by itself and found its way back to the campground and into the arms of its owner. Needless to say, all involved were traumatized.

The bottom line [is that] dogs will be dogs, and only a very, very small percentage of them are 100 percent reliable when unleashed.

And no matter how well trained a dog is in recall, it will run if it fears for its life.

An owner might want everyone to know his dog is well trained and is afraid that putting it on a leash might give a different impression, but being a responsible dog owner is more important. Obey the law. Be smart. Be safe. Keep your dog leashed when away from home.

Janice Murasko
ARF Secretary