Different herd, same challenges!
While we do not have a special TNF or AZDA law (just yet) to leash your dogs at all times, we do have a Maricopa County leash law that applies everywhere in the county.
Just yesterday, we saw a little dog in danger from a horse; the horse walked right over to the doggie out of curiosity. The much too brave little dog yipped and ran towards the horse, and in a split second the horse turned and the little doggie was only inches away from the swift kick that would have surely not been a good ending.
So we are actually trying to protect your dogs by saying: Please keep them on a leash! It’s not going to be the horses’ fault or the dog’s fault, its going to be your fault when (not if) something bad happens to a dog or a wild horse.
Just let’s prevent what can so obviously be prevented. Abide by the Maricopa County Leash Law, thank you! SRWHMG.
It might seem harmless or fun to allow your dog to play off leash in the surf, especially if your dog is well-trained. Unfortunately, unrestrained pets have the potential to negatively impact over a dozen species of animals including the horses, shorebirds, and your even dog!
First, the mere presence of a predatory animal (dogs, osprey, foxes, and raccoons) can disturb nesting birds so much that they might be too anxious to return to their nests, resulting in vulnerable chicks and eggs cooked by hot sands. With several endangered species nesting on Assateague Island National Seashore, dog owner cooperation is imperative to accomplish the seashores conservation goals.
Second, although dogs are smaller than horses, horses still perceive them as a predatory species. While some horses may not appear bothered by dogs, others may become extremely stressed in their presence and could stampede or retaliate if feeling threatened. This retaliation could include an injurious or even fatal kick for the dog. An infection from a dog bite has even caused death the death of an Assateague horse.
For the safety of your dog and Assateague’s wildlife, please follow the posted signs directing visitors to keep all pets on a leash of six feet or less.
(Text: Student Conservation Association intern Catherine Dufault)
(Artwork: Student Conservation Association intern Mackenzie Edwards)