Rangers Crack Down On Leash Laws

SPOKANE — Taking the family dog for a walk is a great spring activity, but park rangers at Riverside State Park say man’s best friend is becoming public enemy number one.

The serenity and beauty of Riverside State Park attracts tens of thousands of people every year. The recreational activities are endless and many of the visitors to the park bring along their dogs. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever really heard, ‘you caught me, darn it, my bad,’ I don’t think I’ve ever really heard that.  Ranger Gary Vierra of Riverside State Park said.

Ranger Vierra says there have been increases in violations of dogs running off-leash, which is not only prohibited inside the park but also in Spokane County.

The minimum fine for this violation is $87 and Rangers are not open to hearing any excuses.      

“A lot of, ‘I’ve seen everybody else do it,’ type of atmosphere, ‘what’s it really hurting?’ The gates been closed I’m the only one inside here,” Ranger Vierra said.

Bill Ayers walks here every week and echoes another big complaint by visitors.

 “Yeah, I’ve seen poop all along here and I guess that’s something you don’t wanna see,” Ayers said.

No matter how well trained your dog may be, Vierra says you can’t control dogs at the park if they are off a leash. Vierra knows this from personal experience, as he has been on the lookout for leash violations on several occasions.

“Your dog is in an element it knows nothing about,” Ranger Vierra said. “Just image all the smells, it running around. This is not its backyard or its living room. It’s out here, its going to protect you.”

Safety for wildlife has also been an issue in our area. Dogs off their leashes have chased down and killed at least three wild animals this year and one of these deaths happened in someone’s backyard.

“Her dog chased yearly, white tail deer into a backyard and killed it right there in front of her and her family,” Ranger Vierra said.

Vierra says the rules are there for a reason, and he hopes the message gets through before someone gets serious hurt.