Second man pepper sprays a dog
A man sprayed a loose dog with pepper spray last week, the second person in Park City this year to fend off an unleashed dog with the irritant.
The case is reminiscent of two well-publicized encounters between loose dogs and Bob Berube, a Park City man who sprayed two dogs on separate occasions and afterward became a polarizing figure.
In the most recent case, a jogger told the Park City Police Department he was confronted on a Prospector street by a loose Doberman pinscher. He sprayed the dog with pepper spray and the dog retreated, according to the Police Department. The incident occurred at about 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Comstock Drive-Little Bessie Avenue intersection, Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, said.
Ryan said police dispatchers received a call from the man with the pepper spray, 45-year-old Prospector resident Mark Kozak, saying the Doberman charged at him as he was jogging in the street.
"What you’re seeing is citizens are frustrated that people are not being more respectful with their pets and keeping them on a leash," Ryan said, adding that other people in Park City are fed up like Berube is. "I don’t think it’s just one individual who’s tired of loose dogs."
Kozak told a Summit County Animal Control officer he wanted the person with the dog, a 24-year-old man with a Tampa, Fla., address, warned, but not ticketed, for having a loose dog, according to Animal Control.
Kozak said the 24-year-old threatened him after the encounter, prompting him to call the police. The owner told Kozak "he’d have (the Doberman) rip my leg off," Kozak said.
According to Kozak’s account, the dog harassed him for between 20 and 30 seconds, left momentarily and then returned to harass him again. Kozak said he then used the pepper spray.
"The second time, he felt more compelled to spray the dog," Ryan said.
Kozak said he has been a jogger for 29 years. He moved to Park City in the late 1990s and has carried pepper spray to protect himself from dogs while jogging for eight years. He said he rarely jogs on Park City streets because loose dogs pose a danger. Kozak said dog owners are often overly confident that their pets will behave.
The Berube incidents earlier in the year sparked outrage among many Parkites. They were dismayed that he sprayed the two dogs. Berube has said, though, he did not want the dogs approaching him. He won scattered support as well. The Berube cases occurred along the paved trail on the edge of City Park.
Leash laws have long stirred passions in Park City, with some dog owners preferring to leave their dogs off leashes. That fits with Park City’s mountain-town vibe, they say. But others are frustrated with loose dogs, claiming that they make unwanted advances, among other ill received behaviors.
Leash laws are in effect throughout Park City and surrounding Summit County, but loose dogs are frequently seen in neighborhoods like Old Town and dog owners often let their pets off leashes when they are hiking on mountain trails. Some dog owners occasionally congregate in the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center, where they let their dogs off a leash as well.
Park City, meanwhile, recently opened a dog park at Quinn’s Junction, the first such facility in the city limits. There has been scattered use since it opened.
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