Idaho Debate: Do Loose Dogs Invite Issues With Fellow Campers?
I have been thinking a lot lately about a recent incident that involved a Hailey couple whose dog was shot by a neighboring camper after it entered their campsite. The man who shot the dog mistook the animal for a wolf.
If you're not up to speed on the incident that took place earlier this month at North Fork Lake, I'll give you a quick summary. A couple was camping with their Alaskan Malamute, and at one point, the dog wandered away from their site and over to another group's location. An individual who was armed reportedly thought the dog was a wolf, and ended up shooting it twice as it approached. The dog was badly wounded, but survived the ordeal.
We shared news of the incident last week, and the comments we received were mixed. We had people saying things like the man who shot should have known better. Is this really true though? I don't know what time of day this happened, or if there were children nearby. We don't have all the details, so blaming the shooter from the get-go probably isn't fair.
It also raises the topic of not keeping dogs within your own campsite. I have a small child we take camping, and I carry a gun too out in the mountains for defense. We see other people's dogs run into our site almost every time we camp, and I sometimes have to chase them out. People are generally kind and quick to retrieve their animals when this happens, but it doesn't change the fact that we don't know the tendencies of other people's pets. Obviously, the shooter thought it was a wild animal, so this incident is a bit different.
I'm not blaming the couple who owns the dog either. They could have very well had their dog chained up, and it could have simply slipped out of its collar. Again, without all the details, we shouldn't jump to judgement. The fact of the matter is still that the animal was roaming free, and that cannot be disputed.
We own a dog who we take camping quite frequently, and she is chained up at all times until we put her in the tent at night to sleep. She has never gotten out of our campsite.
So, here's my question. If you are someone who knowingly allows your dog to run loose on camping trips when you know there are other people camping around you, would you blame another person for acting in a similar manner if they thought their personal safety was threatened?