June 4 editorial | ParkRecord.com

June 4 editorial

Pepper spray aside, remember to use leashes for your dogs

It’s the start of the summer, and do you own — and use — a leash for your dog?

The answer, hopefully, is yes. Leashes are inexpensive and easy to use, and they might protect your dogs from a shot of pepper spray, as has now happened twice since the spring

In both cases, a Park City man, Bob Berube, used pepper spray after dogs approached him. He maintains he should not have to be bothered by unleashed dogs if he does not want to be. Pepper spray, he says, is effective in keeping them away.

Berube quickly became one of the most maligned people in Park City, with the first incident becoming Internet fodder and spurring chatter between Parkites about him.

The public discourse has not restarted since the second episode, which was not widely publicized until this week, but we hope Parkites will understand they should be talking about the importance of the area’s leash laws, not berating Berube for what he sees as his right to protect himself.

We do not condone vigilante justice, which some people say is what Berube is doling out by shooting the dogs with pepper spray. A dog should not be shot with anything just because it is wandering loose in Park City.

However, through the years, Parkites seem to engage in disputes about leash laws at the start of the summer, when people, and their dogs, flock to the parks and trails in and around Park City.

Inevitably there are disputes. Dogs fighting other dogs, loose dogs frightening children, and dogs doing what they do in someone else’s yard. There seems to be a sense of entitlement in the Park City area among dog owners. We live in the mountains, and dogs should be allowed just about anywhere, the thinking goes.

But that is not the case. Both Park City and surrounding Summit County have long had leash laws on the books, meaning that dogs are not allowed to be free in public. It is a simple law to understand and follow, and the people whose dogs were hit with pepper spray apparently disagreed with the rules.

With the summer just starting, we hope people calm down and patiently wait for the much-anticipated dog park to open in Park City. Dogs there will be able to frolic — without the need for leashes.

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