Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Don't They Have to Pick Up the Horse Poo?

The other day I posted a photo of Boz at a Hollywood cafe, contemplating a pair of LA's mounted police. In comments, Laura mentioned the volunteer mounted patrol that assists the mountain rescue unit in Altadena, adding that there was once a mounted patrol in Old Town Pasadena, too. Old Town gets so crowded now; maybe that's why we don't see horses there anymore. Unless you've seen them?

Lo and behold, there's a mounted patrol officer in Lower Arroyo Park. Apparently she's not fully ordained, as she doesn't issue official warnings or make arrests. However, I can attest to the fact that she can and does issue threats.

Boz and I recently came upon her engaged in heated discussion with a dog owner. Basically, the argument went like this this:
"The dogs aren't bothering anyone and they ought to be able to walk off-leash in the Arroyo."
"The law's the law."
There were more words, and exclamation points.

They each had a point, though neither won the argument. Somebody, and I'm not saying who, could benefit from Nice lessons.

For some, the dog park is not an option. It's too stressful for dogs of a certain (uh, omega) temperament. As much as I approve of the concept, I wouldn't take Boz there. It's not for everyone.

The Lower Arroyo is for everyone, yet not everyone is comfortable with dogs. I haven't heard of any unpleasantness, but then again, I don't hear everything.

What do you think? Should dogs be leashed in the Lower Arroyo?


dive said...

I'll stay out of this one, Petrea.
As for horse poo, however, whenever the horses in my village drop poo on the street (which is often) it's a race to see which of us is first out there with a bucket and a shovel to grab some ace rose mulch and compost.

Birdman said...

Let the crap fall where it may.

Ibarionex - The Candid Frame said...

Awesome composition. I love your use of the frame. Kudos.

Latino Heritage said...

Love the photo. Ibarionex could not be more right.
Mixed feelings on this topic. As a walker I like being relaxed as I walk the arroyo. Unfortunately not all dogs are as civil as Boz. And not all owners are as thoughtful as you are.
As for the horse poo - well, usually no plastic bags involved, which a good thing and the fact that they're not omnivores means it becomes compost and/or mulch fairly quickly.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm looking forward to more comments as the day goes by. I ran into a neighbor this morning--dog lover, horse rider--and she had some interesting and powerful thoughts on the subject.

Thank you, Ibarionex and all, for your compliments on the photo. It seemed like a natural to me.

Next time I head out on the trail, I'll take a wheelbarrow and shovel.

John Sandel said...

I'm with the city on this one. Snotty field officers aside, we demand they manage everything from the top down, which requires risk reduction policies.

I wish Boz could run with total freedom in the lower Arroyo, but the leash is a small price for he & his kind to pay for the more limited fun. And it simplifies using the park.

What I don't know is the city's leash policy: where does it apply & where not? I suspect that all public dogs must be leashed (& tagged & inoculated), which is easy to remember.

Only after we accede to the benefits of our cordial relations with municipality should we insist its agents act courteously. If we, as taxpayers, take the high road in these encounters, supervisors of specimens such as Ms. Equestrienne will be more likely to follow suit.

Flies with honey—'s all I'm sayin.

Petrea Burchard said...

Honey, I didn't say who needed the Nice lessons.

I believe you are correct about the leash laws. "All public dogs must be leashed (& tagged & inoculated)," or words to that effect. Private dogs are a different matter.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...leash laws....O.k. the Archers run free in the Lower Arroyo, should they be "On Leash"??

Bellis said...

Thanks for raising this issue. It's so easy just to make a catch-all, unforgiving, law that affects both good and bad, isn't it? And it seems such an easy solution to the rare dog bite incident for people who don't own or like dogs. But when dogs are leashed, they can be more aggressive to other dogs, and I sometimes drop the leash when an alpha dog approaches, so that Abby doesn't start defending me. Also, many dogs need to run off-leash to get enough exercise for their mental well-being (says The Dog Whisperer), but dog parks aren't suitable for every dog - Abby gets overwhelmed by boisterous male dogs, and she can't wait to leave.

Oh, and Orange County DID try to make horse riders pick up their poop - to howls of disapproval!

Diana said...

Some of the volunteer patrol folk have let a little authority go to their heads. I know exactly which one of them you're talking about here, Petrea. Apparently no one ever mentioned the "catch more flies with honey" adage to her.

Frankly, I think well-behaved dogs who are under voice control by their owners should be able to frolic off leash in the Lower Arroyo. There have been some nasty incidents caused by animals not under control (including a pair of Italian greyhounds who ran down someone else's dog a couple of years ago and killed it). It's dog owners like that who ruin things for the rest of us.

And ordinarily, I'd say John was correct about the city trying to operate on a risk-reduction principle, but I don't think Pasadena gives a rap for that. So long as archers operate in a public park and a casting pond quite sufficient for drowning is available, risk reduction ain't in it.

Susan Campisi said...

I can definitely see both sides of this issue. Rather than choosing which one's right, I'll just enjoy the lovely photo.

Laura said...

I love dogs and get along well with almost any dog. On a personal level, as long as the dog is close to its owner and under voice control, I don't mind a dog approaching me.

However, the law is the law and it's there for a reason. Not everyone likes dogs, some people are afraid of them, some dogs cannot be controlled by voice, some dogs are just plain annoying, and some are vicious and even killers. Even well-behaved dogs may attack if they feel threatened.

In my neighborhood, it's common to see dogs off leash whose sole purpose is fighting or protection. These dogs can attack people or other animals at a whim. In one instance, a deputy had to shoot a dog several times before it stopped agressively moving toward him, having already torn a pet to shreds.

Even non-agressive dogs can be a problem. My neighbor's dog is as sweet as can be, but his inability to recognize social cues among dogs--moving in too close, not backing off when a dog growls, coming far into another dog's territory--almost got him killed.

As Bellis says, some dogs can be more agressive on leash (mine are), but at least they can be controlled and a sharp tug helps train them for future situations.

Dogs should be leashed whenever they are off their own property or not in a dog park.

Petrea Burchard said...

One of the good things about living in Van Nuys is the 5 acre dog park at the corner of, I believe, Victory and White Oak. People there police their dogs and police each other, kindly, and it keeps the park nice for everyone.

"I think your dog just pooed over there" receives a response such as "Much obliged," followed by a quick pick-up. The park is, or was, as clean as a dog park can be, and aggressive dogs were banned. This was greatly aided by a diligent park ranger, who was there every day we went.

It didn't hurt that the small dog area was marked for "Small and Timid Dogs," and not one rude dog owner told us to leave when we entered the gates. "Hi Boz!" was more like it. He was free to play safely there with his little friends, fenced off from the dogs that he felt intimidated by.

I don't know how the Pasadena park is doing, but last time we went there was poo all over the place, dog owners ignored their dogs while chatting, and we were told to leave the small dog area. We haven't been back. I can see that a ranger would be too expensive, although we do have one in the Arroyo. But I'm not sure the dog park is city property.

Chris Klages Staley said...

I board a horse at San Pascual Stables and I ride out on the Lower Arroyo Trail once or twice a week. Here is why dogs should be leashed... what if, God forbid, your off-leash dog decides to take on my 1200-pound horse. If my horse kicks your dog or rears up and lands on your dog, it's not going to be good. Your dog is not gonna win that one. And if you rush in to try and get the dog you could get hurt too. What if it was worse than that? Your dog goes after my horse and my horse freaks out and dumps me and runs off, or maybe we both crash through the flimsy fence and into the wash. That trail is a designated hiking and equestrian trail. Period. That's why the big signs state no bikes, no motorized bikes, no scooters and dogs must be on leash. It's to keep everyone safe, not to torture dog owners who think it's cruel that their dogs can't run free.

Petrea Burchard said...

Excellent point, Chris. Boz is quite enamored of horses, and as docile as he is I don't trust him to resist the temptation to try to engage them in play. There are fewer horseback riding trails than there are dog walking options, I think.

Katie said...

I second Ibarionex re the awesomeness of this composition. Looks like a delightful place to ride a horse, although I might be nervous about low-hanging branches.

ArroyoLover said...

In my opinion, there are two good reasons why dogs need to be on leash in the Lower Arroyo (beside it being Pasadena law):

1. The BFI stream diversion there was designed to help restore natural habitat, including ground nesting birds, and when dogs walk/run off leash they often trample this sensitive area, including small animals like frogs. Everyone who wants to keep the Hahamongna natural should be just as concerned about supporting habitat regrowth in the Lower Arroyo.

2. Loose dogs, especially 'alpha' unneutered males, pose risk of harm to walkers, children, other dogs and horses. I have personally witnessed a dog fight there that was started by a dog off leash.

Regarding being 'nice,' if you have witnessed the abuse that dog owners have verbally given the informal 'enforcer' as I have for telling them to put their dogs back on leash, you would at least know why she gets frustrated.

I am a dog owner/dog lover and I'd personally be thrilled to see her have the authority to issue tickets!

By the way, some of the worst dog off leash attitude offenders are non-'denans who bring their dogs into our community 'because it's nicer here than in LA.'

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Katie. Sounds like maybe you should be nervous about dogs, too.

ArroyoLover, more good points made.

I don't walk in the Lower Arroyo regularly, but it's a lovely place. I didn't notice much dog poo lying around. I think dog owners are doing a better job on this score since--I think it's My Pet Garden--started providing free poo bags. Very nice of them.

Did I say who needed the Nice lessons? I did not say who needed the nice lessons.

Great discussion today, thank you all for your contributions.

pasadenapio said...

Chapter 6.12.010 of the Pasadena Municipal Code:

A. No person owning, having an interest in, harboring or having charge, care, control, custody or possession of any dog shall cause or permit such dog to be in or upon any public street, alley or other public place or in or upon any unenclosed lot or premises, unless such dog is securely confined by a strong cord, chain or leash, not exceeding 6 feet, securely and continuously held by a competent person owning, having an interest in, harboring or having charge, care, control, custody or possession of such dog, or unless such dog is confined within an automobile or in an off-leash dog area established by ordinance and posted in accord with Section 6.12.011 of this code.

B. This section shall not apply to any city council designated off-leash dog park, to dogs participating in an exhibition, bench show or dog obedience training program in a city park and for which the city has issued a permit for said exhibition, bench show or training program. "Dog obedience training program" means an organized plan or system of instruction consisting of interaction between a dog and its trainer towards the goal of conditioning the dog to obey the commands of the trainer.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, PIO. I was hoping you'd chime in.