The Park City Police Department is investigating a claim that a man insinuated he could shoot a dog that was off its leash in Round Valley in late February.
The police received the report at just before 5 p.m. on Monday. The confrontation occurred the day before, the police said. The case continues a dispute about leash laws in the area that stretches back years.
Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of the advocacy group Mountain Trails Foundation, contacted the police on behalf of the person who was in Round Valley with the dog. Sturgis said the dog is a border collie and the person, a woman, is a longtime Parkite.
Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the department was told the woman was walking the dog off its leash on a trail close to the fields complex at Quinn's Junction. She and the dog passed a man who was cross-country skiing. The skier took a swipe at the dog, the police were told. Sturgis said the skier used a ski pole. The woman and the dog continued the walk.
Kirk said the man was waiting for the woman when she returned to the parking lot with the dog. The two argued. Kirk said the man told her he held a permit to have a gun and he had one with him. The police were told the man said he could shoot the dog, Kirk said.
Kirk said the woman did not immediately contact the police. She had not done so by the middle of the afternoon on Wednesday.
Kirk said it was not clear whether the man committed a criminal offense based on the initial report. He is white and spoke with a British or New Zealand accent, Kirk said.
There have been conflicts for years in the Park City area between people on trails and dog owners who do not leash their pets. The episodes have occurred at all times of the year.
Sturgis said the man "very much got in her face" in an intimidating manner.
"That's just bad behavior," Sturgis said about the man.
Sturgis acknowledged a leash law is in effect in Round Valley but said it is commonplace for dogs to be in the expansive acreage off leashes.
"Round Valley is, basically, a big public sandbox and we all need to be able to play nice together in it," Sturgis said.