My Turn: Locals and visitors unleash thoughts on dogs in Truckee
After I read the letter to the editor (“Welcome to Truckee” Sierra Sun July 13), I could see the keyboards lighting up around town. The response was pretty much what I predicted, which points to the bigger problem the writer was trying to address. I’ve owned dogs for years (and have two right now) and love to enjoy the outdoors with them. I’ve lived in the mountains, the cities and everywhere in between. Yes, cultures and values differ between regions. But it doesn’t matter where you are, as a pet owner you have a responsibility for your animal(s) and the other animals and humans around you. I love to let my dogs run around off leash if it’s appropriate. But I do so knowing that they are under strict voice control and still only do so in the appropriate surroundings. Way too many people around Truckee seem to feel the last criteria is an infringement on their rights as a citizen of the mountains. It is not OK to let your dogs run free through the neighborhoods and along our trail networks completely out of control. As is always the case in these sorts of situations, it only takes one or two bad experiences to paint the entire area and all its inhabitants with the same brush. One respondent stated “Unlike our current president and his administration, I hope you are not out to impose your values and culture onto all others with no respect to theirs.” I firmly believe that we should have the freedom to live our lives as we please as long as it doesn’t significantly impact others around us. Picture for a minute I’m out walking a trail with my dogs and encounter an aggressive dog off leash (as did the original writer), your values have run headlong into my values. Who’s right and who’s wrong in that situation? I’m trying to enjoy a day walking with my dogs and am suddenly find myself and my beloved pets in danger because somebody has a “Wild West” mentality. They feel can do whatever they want regardless of what impact it has on others just because they live in the mountains? We supposedly live in a civilized society where we should care about the well being of others. I love to walk my dogs off leash but quickly get them back on leash if I see another person or dog approaching. It’s just common decency. Why should my outing infringe on someone else’s enjoyment of the area we all love so much. My dogs know the routine and know in a couple of minutes they will be free again to run and sniff as they choose. We should stop talking about “us vs. them” and starting thinking in terms of “we.” How can we make Truckee, or wherever we live and/or visit, a better place for all? Putting your dogs on a leash once in a while isn’t the end of the world, or even the end of mountain life. And who knows, you might even get a “thank you” from a grateful visitor that just happens to be a vital part of our local economy. Rob Shattuck is a Truckee resident.