Dog’s Eye View: Making trail etiquette work | SteamboatToday.com

Dog’s Eye View: Making trail etiquette work

Sandra Kruczek/For Steamboat Today

Many years ago, people got together in Craig and formed the Humane Society of Moffat County, and one of the first projects the group voted to tackle was the pet waste problem in our parks and other public locations. We supported the purchase and installation of pet waste stations that included baggies and waste containers. It seemed this might be the answer to allowing pets and people share the trails.

One year, we had a particularly heavy snow depth, and the following early snowmelt revealed an enormous amount of waste right around the area where the waste station is. I had taken my dog for an early spring walk at Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig and was absolutely shocked at what I saw.

I understand that, during the winter, a snowfall can bury some dog waste in the backyard. However, when you are standing right next to your dog in a public place with plastic bags at hand, how can you just walk away? This is not just a spring melt problem; this is a year-round problem.

You have probably seen full pet waste bags that are left along heavily used trails, such as Mad Creek and Spring Creek. I've noticed dogs generally relieve themselves fairly near the area at the trailhead where the containers are. Sometimes, it's down the trail. People may conscientiously bag up the waste and set it along the side of the trail, surely intending to pick it up on the way back. But yet, there they are. Who picks these up if you don't?

Perhaps dog owners can carry clean grocery bags in their pockets in which to place the full waste bag. That way, we won't have to carry a soiled bag on the trail, but also won't have to leave it behind. Having more trash containers far along the trail may not be feasible.

Bob Korch, a fellow contributing columnist and author of Wilderness Wanderings, wrote and asked if we could bring this situation to the attention of our dog-loving citizens. We are not the only ones who use these trails. Non dog-owning individuals and families with children want to enjoy them, as well.

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We dog owners all fight for the right to bring our dogs to public places. Let us then honor and respect the privilege we have won.

Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training, LLC with more than 30 years of experience.