By LYNN HANRAHAN
Yesterday’s letter (link) in the Los Alamos Daily Post concerning dog attacks brought back memories. Almost 14 years ago when my youngest daughter was a newborn, I remember sitting through a Los Alamos Animal Control Task Force meeting with her on my lap while my fellow citizens screamed at each other. Dog owners insisted they had the right to allow their pets to run free as God intended while those advocating common sense restrictions on this “right” disagreed.
An exchange involving two ladies sitting behind me became practically violent. One lady just didn’t understand all the “unfriendly” people out there who yelled at her when her dog ran up to them on local streets and trails. She insisted he was just being a friendly dog. The other lady tried to get her to understand that she simply wanted to go on a peaceful walk. She did not feel being charged by large slobbery animals allowed this.
I sympathized with the lady who just wanted to take a walk. I still do. Efforts to enforce control of off leash dogs and roaming cats failed back then because our County Council did not have the political will to say NO to citizens who take no responsibilty to control their pets. Irresponsible pet owners teamed up with leaders of local dog obedience clubs and well over a decade later citizens of the county still can’t simply take a peaceful walk.
Over the years I probably called in hundreds of dog complaints to our local animal control department. With a few exceptions this was a waste of time. I was usually shamed for being a big sissy. Even a few years ago when the kids were doing paper routes in different neighborhoods with roaming dangerous dogs no one really cared. If you brought this issue up to County Councilors they would seem terribly sympathetic but nothing ever changed. Basic public safety has never been a priority of our leaders. It isn’t flashy or sexy like building giant sport complexes. Councilors usually can’t immortalize themselves on plaques for insuring that our local law enforcement does indeed take safety seriously.
The last couple of years I have had a membership to the Aquatic Center. This costs our family somewhere between $700 and $800 a year. I would much rather be out on local trails hiking than swimming back and forth in the same place every day but then you have to deal with dogs and their eternally self-absorbed owners. Yesterday’s letter though made me think maybe it’s time to get out there and give it another try with my canister of pepper spray and big stick. It’s time to reclaim our streets, parks and trails. Could County Council maybe help?