My Turn: Child owners need to be responsible too |

My Turn: Child owners need to be responsible too

AGATE BAY, Calif. and#8212; I am responding to yet another letter in your July 6 edition maligning dog owners.

Recently, I was accosted in the parking lot of the Carnelian Bay beach by an angry, violent man wielding a 6-foot-long 2-by-4, screaming that he was going to kill me and my black lab. Patton Landing has been known as a and#8220;local dog beachand#8221; for decades. There is a sign by the beach asking dogs to play at the far end of the beach, not a and#8220;No Dogsand#8221; sign. He said his 8-10 year old kids were afraid of dogs. When I asked why he didnand#8217;t take his children to one of the dozens and dozens of beaches where dogs are banned, he erupted and assaulted me. Police were called and couldnand#8217;t touch the man due to the ambiguous nature of the dog policies in the basin. Unfortunately, had the man actually connected the 2-by-4 to the side of my head as he planned he would be in jail right now and#8230; and I might be dead.

A big part of this problem, and many other local squabbles, is misinformation and false assumptions as evidenced by Ms. Peborghand#8217;s letter.

Our country has no leash laws and#8212; local governments and jurisdictions do. Most of these laws are only applicable in incorporated areas. Most of the Tahoe Basin consists of unincorporated local communities. When such laws do exist, they are often discriminatory and impractical to enforce. In other words, most of the Tahoe area is available, as it should be, to all including dog owners.

Further, Ms. Peborgh complains about dogs on local trails where, for the most part, they are legally allowed unleashed. Locals hike the trails with their dogs because there is virtually nowhere else around the lake to take them anymore. Besides, you do realize there are also bears, mountain lions, coyotes, big mean wolverines, smaller aggravated badgers and even rattlesnakes on those trails. So, big dogs are the least of your worries. In fact, large dogs deter these other critters from hanging around the trails. Small dogs, however, have the opposite effect. Mini dogs attract predators that eat small furry mammals, so leave little Fifi at home. Moreover, large dog owners have no problems with bears or other critters breaking into their homes.

Finally, we donand#8217;t want to do whatever we feel like with our dogs, as Ms. Peborgh claims; we simply want to do what weand#8217;ve always done for decades before developers and their selfish, entitled customers arrived. Longtime locals moved to paradise and left it alone. The folks moving here in the past 10-15 years believe this could be paradise if only they could make it more civilized.

So, Ms. Peborgh, if you expect a hike in the forest to be a clean, civilized, uneventful experience you should cruise the trails of the East Bay not the and#8220;uncivilizedand#8221; woods of the mountains. In other words, you and many others just donand#8217;t get the pure, unadulterated joy of the perfection and beauty of our natural world.

A look at the bigger picture is even more disturbing. Dog owners are taxpayers too! Many people have opted for dogs over children, as I have. We donand#8217;t get nice fat tax deductions for each child. Rather, while we are paying taxes for resources for your kids, we also pay taxes for our dogs in the form of a dog license.

Finally, the wobbly, gray area dog policies of most agencies in the Tahoe area are divisive, creating animosity and hostility among all human animals. Denying dog-owning taxpayers access to public places is discrimination, pure and simple.

Jacqui Grandfield is a wildlife biologist, environmental policy analyst and a 30-year resident of Agate Bay.

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