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In response to 'Concerned about SLO' 

Three cheers for the officers/rangers working hard to make SLO trails safe! Kevin Matea (who wrote the commentary “Concerned about SLO,” Feb. 11) has it wrong when it comes to officers/rangers enforcing the leash laws. As a daily dog walker on the local trails and beaches, I have seen a lot of misbehaving citizens and their furry four-legged friends.

Once in late 2015, when I was starting to hike at the Irish Hills, officers/rangers walking behind me came upon a woman and her off-leash dog standing next to the sign informing her that dogs must be on leash. She had little control of her dog. The officers informed her that they could give her a ticket for about $570, but only gave her the warning. She immediately leashed her dog and continued along her way after apologizing to the officers.

What about me and my dog who was threatened by the off-leash dog? No apologies were directed to me. In this case, it was clearly a disobedient citizen just doing whatever she wanted with her dog.

Another time, when hiking with my dog at Johnson Ranch, a loose dog came at us and began to growl and tussle with my leashed dog. The owner had to get in between the growling canines to separate them because she had no verbal or physical control of her dog. Eventually, the owner of the loose dog was able to restrain her dog. What would have happened if she was accidentally bitten by my dog when she tried to restrain her dog? Would I have been liable for her injuries?

People need to take responsibility for themselves and to know the laws and rules of the area. If they break the law they need to be prepared to pay for their crime. 

Matea suggests in his commentary last week, “Empower … volunteers to take down the violators’ names and addresses, add them to a database, and if they violate again, double the ticket.” Really? Does that sound at all feasible? 

I want to be able to enjoy the public areas with my dog, along with other people, without having to worry if my dog will be attacked by the dogs of careless owners.

It is everyone’s responsibility to know the rules and laws of an area before venturing out. If you don’t, and you get a ticket, then consider it a lesson learned the hard way.

-- Lisa Schott - San Luis Obispo

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