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Always use a leash to keep your dog safe

On Tuesday, the Journal published a group of letters condemning leg-hold traps and the potential for dog pets to be trapped.

While it is certainly sad that the dog in question was trapped by a device near an Albuquerque Open Space trail, it was entirely preventable, a point mentioned only in passing.

In the city of Albuquerque, including its Open Space lands, it is illegal and dangerous to have your dog off-leash.

On the city website it states:

“An Animal, on or off the Owner’s premises, that is not contained by a Secure Fence, a Secure Facility, a Secure Enclosure, secured in the back of a pickup truck, inside a vehicle with proper ventilation or restrained on a leash no longer than eight feet held by a responsible Person capable of controlling the Animal. Verbal commands do not constitute control of an Animal. An At Large Animal is in violation of the leash law.”

This is actually part of the Heart ordinance, there for the protection of our pets, as well as citizens.

I am an Albuquerque Open Space Volunteer and patrol the Sandia Open Space Foothills trails four or five times per week.

The number of dogs I see off-leash has increased during the last year, and the quantity of dog feces along the trails has increased commensurately. It is also required by law to pick up dog feces for the protection of wildlife – dog feces are toxic to some wild animals.

I often remind residents that it is required by law to leash their dog on Albuquerque land, with varying responses from apologies to aggressive statements like “it’s none of your business.”

In the Foothills Open Space off-leash dogs have “disappeared,” leaving the owners perplexed. Coyotes, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, etc., will attack and eat domestic dogs, and have done so in the past.

The leash law is there actually to protect not only others on the trails, but the dogs and their owners. I’ve been attacked three times by “dogs that don’t bite.”

While sad that the domestic dog reported in the Journal on Nov. 12 was caught in a trap for coyotes, it was entirely preventable if leashed as required by law and common sense.

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