Guest editorial: This pup is up to no good
November 4, 2015
I’m a long term resident of Park City. I’ve witnessed how growth has had many positive impacts on the community, but it is also changing the crime profile in town. I’d like to share a real-life example.
Hazel relocated to Park City five years ago to make a better life. She’s a multi-racial millennial, born to unfortunate economic and educational conditions. Orphaned at a young age, but fortunate enough into be adopted by a caring family. It wasn’t enough to keep her from a life of crime and since moving here, what was once her path of independence, has now become a criminal enterprise.
She has a mind of her own, is fast on her feet and adept at exploiting unfamiliar territory to her advantage. Crime is a way of life and it’s easy to recruit others in town. She is a repeat offender, but has not been caught, prosecuted or incarcerated yet.
Hazel’s luck is about to run out and she could face incarceration, fines, or life changing penalties that could follow her forever. Recently, a police stakeout of one Park City high crime area nearly caught her and her "crew" committing a major crime. It was clear the law enforcement officer had invested a great deal of time on the stakeout, but Hazel and her friends spotted the officer’s unmarked vehicle, so the crime spree was stalled for the day.
The residents of Park City should recognize our highly trained and respected law enforcement personnel are obligated to spend long hours to protect and serve the people of Park City against offenders like Hazel and her ilk.
Hazel is our family dog. Her preferred crime: running free in open space. Unfortunately, it’s a widespread and growing offense in Park City and authorities are unclear how to answer the crime spree. Should Park City float a $10 million bond to hire more enforcement personnel and build detention centers to thwart this growing crime wave?
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Park City might consider actions for similar situations and crimes such as: Speeding ban all driving. Jaywalking and Parking Violations require all to ride the bus. Overwatering in Summer shut off all water supplies. Graffiti ban all spray paint. Shoplifting check all bags at the store door.
The common thread here is that we have penalized all dog owners in town for a minority of offenses. Owners should accompany their pet and be held accountable for their pet’s behavior, deposits, harm and damage we get that. Unfortunately, we’ve had the unintended consequence of restricting thousands of acres of open space because of the actions of a few.
The police story is real. Yesterday I went for a run with Hazel. About 100 yards down the trail, around the corner from eye shot of the stakeout police officer were two adults, each with two dogs literally hiding out (yep, taxpayers). I stopped and the woman asked, "Is the officer still there? I only have my earbuds for a leash." They had been there for a while. I could hold her small dogs in one arm. Real threats to our society.
I felt bad for the two, but felt much worse for the officer. Imagine training as a law enforcement professional only to be banished to a parking lot to bust a dog off leash that is getting ready to enter 2,000+ acres of open space for some exercise.
As a community of intelligent, outdoor oriented people, can we revisit the ordinances and craft practical guidelines that hold adults accountable for their pet’s actions, and restore common sense?
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