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This Week's Letters to the Editor

January 05, 2006

Keep Trails Clean

La Cañada has been characterized as one of the Southland's best kept secrets. I couldn't agree more. There are too many wonderful aspects of this community to list here, not the least of which are the friendly, cordial and considerate people who live here. I especially love the fact that so many of us enjoy hiking and walking around our beautiful town, and that we have a wonderful trail system that allows us to escape from the roadways and the traffic.

Therefore, I remain astonished at the number of residents who seem to believe it is okay to walk their dogs on La Cañada's trails without picking up after them. Though our trails allow us to enjoy the illusion that we live in the countryside, where dogs can roam free and their litter would be scarce by virtue of vastness, in reality we live in an urban setting where a handful of dogs walked regularly on a stretch of trail can turn it into a minefield within a matter of days.

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Is it possible that some sections of the trail system have been designated dog latrines? If so, it would be helpful if a sign could be posted to this effect, so we would know to avoid these particular stretches of trail.

Otherwise, I would ask my neighbors and fellow dog lovers to remember that their right to enjoy the trails with their dogs as they prefer stops when it infringes upon the rights of others to do the same. Do they not realize or do they not care that what their dogs leave behind makes walking the trails an unpleasant experience for others?

I admit that it is easier to walk a dog without carrying the means for collecting and disposing of their deposits, but picking up after a dog isn't such a terrible burden, either.

We have a dog that occasionally escapes from our fenced yard, which some of our neighbors probably consider a nuisance. (To our kind neighbors who have tolerated her when she has wandered into their domain and called us to come fetch her, we thank you.) So I am reluctant to cast a stone without acknowledging that dogs can be hard to control. No doubt, some dog owners faithfully carry paper towels and bags, but have faced the embarrassing situation when their dog stops one more time than they were prepared to handle.

But I am not talking about these people. I am talking about the ones I see over and over again, walking with a dog or two, never carrying a bag and clearly not intending to do anything about the litter their dogs leave in their wake.

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