Danish right on Palestine
(Re: “When Palestine declares its independence,” Danish Plan, Sept. 22.) Passing through Boulder on the way to Aspen to enjoy your state’s remarkable foliage, I grabbed every newspaper around the hotel for dining and entertainment plans. Boulder Weekly was especially helpful in that. And I particularly enjoyed Mr. Danish’s predictions as to what will come of the Palestinian push for symbolic U.N. approval of their statehood bid. His was as credible and cogent an overview of what’s in store as anything I’ve seen elsewhere.
The saddest part is the Palestinians could have had a state more than 60 years ago had the Arabs (there were no Palestinians back then) done as the Jews did and accepted half a loaf of that small sliver of land. Instead, they chose to attack the tiny, seemingly vulnerable Jewish statelet from all sides with four or five different Arab nations’ armies. That didn’t work, yet they continue to deny the Israelis a peaceful coexistence, continue to lionize the terrorists who kill Israeli schoolchildren by naming plazas, town squares, schools and sports teams after these convicted mass murderers.
Despite that, Israel has, with USA’s help, offered them virtually all they asked in terms of land swaps and a capitol in east Jerusalem. Arafat couldn’t make peace for fear his followers would kill him. Abbas is similarly invertebrate.
Now President Abbas, who, having refused to allow elections in recent years, is serving without any electoral mandate, announces his country will not allow Jews to reside there, yet he demands Israel allow literally millions of Arabs into their nation. That kind of arrogance, that breathtaking sense of entitlement, only comes from decades of indulgence, specifically by the Europeans and Americans who donate more than a billion dollars a year to that corrupt, venal enterprise known as the Palestinian Authority.
If Abbas truly wants peace all he need do is recognize Israel as a Jewish state and negotiate directly with his neighbor. I’m sure your Mr. Danish wouldn’t advise us to hold our breath on that.
Russel Pergament/Boston, Mass.
Improve dog enforcement
(Re: “It’s about doggone time,” Uncensored, Sept. 15.) I think this article is right on. As a dog owner, professional trainer and avid outdoors person, I, too, feel strongly about pushing for dog owners to be responsible, respectful of other trail users and in control and aware of their dogs at all times. Not everyone is a dog person, and some are even terrified of dogs, and we must respect that many people choose to hike for the peace and solitude of it and do not want to be approached by even the friendliest dog.
As a trainer, I always push clients to the side of the leash. I tell them your dog should not be off leash on public lands or anywhere unless you can guarantee, through thorough proofing and practice, that your dog will come immediately when called on the first command, even under the most intense distraction. Keeping your dog on leash is not a mark of shame — it’s a responsible thing to do, and many, whether they show it or not, will greatly appreciate you taking steps to keep your dog under your close control.
The Boulder voice and sight program is a great idea, and the informational video depicts a perfect image of how it should be — dogs stay close to their owners, do not approach other hikers, dogs or wildlife, and the owners always pick up their pet’s waste. This is great. However, very few people actually have or know how to have this level of control over their dogs, which is where trainers like me come in. The voice and sight tag program is built almost entirely on the honor system, leaving it up to the often naive owner to make the call as to whether or not their dog is reliable off leash.
Unfortunately, I find that many think the criteria for off-leash reliability is simply “my dog doesn’t run away,” or “he comes back after I scream his name 16 times and plead with a cookie,” or “he comes when I call, but just runs past me, loops around and heads right back to whatever/whoever was distracting him in the first place.”
I personally think that in order to re-vamp this voice and sight tag program, there needs to be:
1) A test, proctored by a professional dog trainer or trained law enforcement officer, and it is up to them to determine whether or not that dog is well-trained enough to be off leash on public lands. No more of this “just mail in a check and get a tag” stuff. That is just insane to me. Who knows what unruly, out-of-control or even dangerous dogs are wearing that tag, and what owners are thinking, “Hey, my dog has a voice and sight tag now — we can go anywhere and do whatever we want!” I think it would also be a good idea for owners to have to pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test in order to even apply for a voice and sight tag.
2) A volunteer corps made up of an army of frequent trail users to help enforce the rules. We all know money is short all around, and it is simply not feasible to have enough rangers and law enforcement officers out there on trails to effectively enforce these rules. Putting the power in the public’s hands, like Pamela White, who wrote this article, to call out, educate/inform and possibly even issue tickets or at the least take down tag numbers of offleash offenders.
3) Have a set and posted “offender system” visible at all trailheads — maybe something like first offense is a warning, second offense is a fine and third offense is banishment of that dog from public lands until that dog retakes the voice and sight test to prove it has since received sufficient training to be allowed back on the trails.
I don’t want to exclude people and their dogs from using trails and enjoying the outdoors, but I want to encourage quality, effective and durable training. Hey, if you screw up and your dog jumps on enough people to get that dog banished from public lands, I don’t want that to be a permanent sentence. I want that to be encouragement to work harder to improve and receive more training and to try again!
Also, I think it may be a good idea to host frequent promotional events at trailheads to inform owners of what the voice and sight program really means and requires, to remind what trails and areas of trail are on-leash only and to screen/test dogs before they head out on trail, letting dog owners and other hikers know these rules can and will be enforced, and those who have the ability to enforce them have a strong presence on these trails, likely discouraging irresponsible or under-trained dogs from being set loose on unsuspecting hikers and wildlife.
We already have the manpower out there to step up and call out those who are being irresponsible with their dog/s. We have thousands of willing eyes out there already. Let’s use them! Thank you!
Marianna Langan, Trainer, Extreme K-9/via Internet
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