I am writing to encourage dog owners to keep their dog on a leash on local hiking trails.

I enjoy taking my dog hiking in the national forest (mainly May Valley Road.) She is a 50-pound Lab, former guide dog, and she listens to me when I call her. All the same, I keep her on a leash.

More and more frequently when we encounter another dog on the trail, the dog is not on a leash. Invariably, the owner yells from a distance, “Don’t worry, he’s friendly.” Then, the dog usually runs up and attacks (mounting or mauling) my dog. The owner acts surprised and makes a half-hearted effort to control their pet.

If you have a 125-pound Rottweiler, or if your dog answers to “Killer,” or if you can’t control your pet when it encounters another dog, please put your dog on a leash.

I understand that we all like spending time outside with our pets. I understand that some people want to give their dogs the opportunity to “run free.”

That being said, my goal is to get some exercise for myself and my dog. I have no interest in being an involuntary participant in a “canine social club.” Please show some respect for the safety of other people and their dogs: Put your dog on a leash.

Thor Peterson



  1. I don’t agree. I come from Europe and miss seeing dogs almost everywhere and allowed to run free. Because of that most of them are well socialised, they have better relationship with their owner and happier lives. I miss going to public parks and forests, meeting other dog walkers and seeing dogs playing together. After all – happy dog is a tired dog and whilst running around its owner it covers three times more ground that the human walking it. I would recommend a movie called “Dean Spanley” – its a charming movie and will explain better what I mean. I do understand rules and regulations of this country and think that they are very unsympathetic to dogs or dog owners.

    • I strongly disagree with your comments, Anna. While walking my leashed dog last summer, I was attacked by a dog running free resulting in multiple deep puncture wounds and a broken wrist as the dog twisted my arm. A friend was viciously bitten on the forearm while walking her leashed dog in Pine Cove last year. We have undergone months of medical treatment and expense along with months of physical therapy. The strength and dexterity of our hands has been compromised permanently. Another friend helplessly watched his faithful companion mauled by two loose dogs. The regulations of this country, although not charming, are necessary to prevent these unexpected, traumatic incidents. I am unsympathetic to your point of view.

  2. Ideally, it would be great for animals to run free and really enjoy themselves. But, in our culture, this is not possible. Dogs are not properly trained to behave themselves and many people do not want to be responsible for their animal’s actions. It is too easy to sue people for any sort of dog problems. Our courts are overrun with these cases. We must keep our pets on leashes.