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  1. #1
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    Park rangers can't write citations for off leash dogs?

    I have been attacked by off leash dogs 3 times in San Diego. Once in PQ I was bitten on the knee. A month ago 2 dogs attacked my dog and he fought back and damn near killed one of them (he was on a leash). The last time a really large dog bit my hand and my handlebar making me fall. I got sick of it so I decided to write an email to the senior Park Ranger. Here is the email I wrote:

    Hello David, I am emailing you in the hopes that something will be done about the off leash dog problem at Lake Hodges. Over a month ago my 4 year old son and I were walking our 94 pound lab just south of the parking lot when he was approached by 2 smaller dogs that were not leashed. They attacked him and he fought back. My son was knocked down and I was pulled down as well. I was forced to let my dog go so he could defend himself. He severely injured one of the other dogs. The other dog owner was quite distraught but to his credit he has not attempted to sue me, most likely because he was breaking the law. Since this incident I have become more aware of the problem with off leash dogs. I also mountain bike and 2 weeks ago I decided to count how many dogs I encountered. From Sunset drive to the dam and back I counted 36 dogs of which only 7 were on leashes. Thats 29 off leash dogs. I normally would not care enough to complain but on that ride I myself was jumped by an off leash dog causing me to fall off my bike. Luckily I only got a few scrapes but I have had enough.
    I realize that the parks service is stretched rather thin but I hope that at some point there will be some enforcement of the laws. It seems the majority of dog owners in the Escondido area either can't read the clearly posted signs or they just don't care. I am leaning towards the latter. The only way to make them care is by hitting them where it hurts, their wallets. I am not sure what the fine is for off leash dogs but I think it is $250 for a first offense. Thats $7250 bucks for one Saturday morning. I hope that something can be done before the problem causes someone to get hurt. Thanks.

    And here is the response I got:

    Thank you for your concern in this matter. Sorry to hear about your incident.


    Dog off leash is the number one problem we have in our park. Unfortunately the San Dieguito River Park Rangers can not site for DOL and are forced to call animal control when things start getting out of control. It appears that we are at that point again. I will try and set up a good time for them to come out and cite, hopefully that will curtail the problem for awhile. We always inform visitors of the need for their dogs to be leashed but like you said sometimes it doesn't sink in till it hits their wallets.


    First off I have to say, if rangers can't cite people for breaking the law within the park boundaries then what good are they? I realize they are bound by the law and the constraints of their jobs.

    I encourage those of you who have had problems with aggressive off leash dogs to be sure and email the park rangers and/or animal control. I am sure there are literally thousands of incidents that go unreported.
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  2. #2
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    I think it's a good step that he will call animal control for you. Dog owners are responsible for their dogs actions, so you could also bring a small claims suit against someone whose dog causes you harm or property damage.

  3. #3
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    Even on leash, with those dorky retractable leashes, they might charge you. I got charged by a little ankle biter who, luckily for me, latched on to my shin guard. The owner pulled back on the leash but the damn thing just kept reeling out. Yeah it was a little football at that point and more of an annoyance, but if it had been a medium/big dog it could have gotten ugly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uly View Post
    Even on leash, with those dorky retractable leashes, they might charge you. I got charged by a little ankle biter who, luckily for me, latched on to my shin guard. The owner pulled back on the leash but the damn thing just kept reeling out. Yeah it was a little football at that point and more of an annoyance, but if it had been a medium/big dog it could have gotten ugly.
    Methinks you guys are either: cursed, have bad karma, have bad luck, wear spandex (a known animal irritant), or a combination of all four.

    I have been riding bikes for over 40 years, only got bit by one dog (large german shepherd) while I was delivering newspapers in the dark of the morning when I was 15.

    I have never been bitten or attacked by dogs on the trail whether I was mtbing, hiking, or trail running....knock on wood.....and I have encountered thousands of them. I must be doing something different than you guys...I'll figure it out/run some tests, etc....and get back to you.

  5. #5
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    In CA the law is a 6' leash. I was on a ride about a year
    ago and this guy had a dog on about a 50 foot long rope.

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  6. #6
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    ...my wife takes off my leash so I can ride. Thanks honey!

    She claims I don't bite.... yeah, rrrrright
    Last edited by CEB; 04-13-2012 at 04:16 PM.

  7. #7
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    I massively support this. I've been attacked multiple times at cowles mountain by off leash dogs using my bike as a shield. In 2 separate incidents the owners said "sorry my dog is a rescue and doesnt like bikes". Hello? What is a rescue dog doing off leash? Both times they were huge German shepards. Another time I nearly smashed a ladys dog around a corner that was on a 20 ft leash and even then she tried to put the blame on me. I'll be contacting animal control then about this, I was wondering how to go about it.

  8. #8
    MTP
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    Dogs are always charging on Black Mtn. (PQ). Pepper spray 'em!
    If not biking, then what?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    ...my wife takes off my leash so I can ride. Thanks honey!

    She claims I don't bite.... yeah, rrrrright

  10. #10
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    i have been attacked by two dogs in a suburban area not even on a trail. one was on a leash and the owner just couldnt hold it back. some little asian lady walking two big pitbulls wtf lady. i kicked the **** out of her dog and was lucky he didnt catch my foot. i hate dogs and am terrified of them and they hate me too. i will definitely be rigging up some kind of metal pipe to hang on my bike after hearing this. i never considered this either. damn being a noob sucks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTP View Post
    Dogs are always charging on Black Mtn. (PQ). Pepper spray 'em!
    Being an animal lover I would have a hard time pepper spraying a dog, after all it's not really their fault. I think it would be more effective to pepper spray the owner

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    i agree that the owner should take responsibility for and suffer consequences from the actions their pets take i am not above hurting anything that tries to hurt me. i would go out of my way to hurt any animal but if it attacks me first its on like donkey kong.

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    People who don't leash their dogs should definitely be cited a huge fine.

    Another thing that pisses me off is people that have their dogs leashed on absurdly long leashes. Especially on narrow trails. I don't want to get attacked by a dog nor do I ever want to accidentally run one over.

    Keep your dogs leashed and CLOSE TO YOU at all times!!!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveagibsonsg View Post
    Another time I nearly smashed a ladys dog around a corner that was on a 20 ft leash and even then she tried to put the blame on me. I'll be contacting animal control then about this, I was wondering how to go about it.
    Exactly my point! Long leashes are basically like having no leash on your dog. I have been close to running over dogs on the trail because the idiot owners decide to buy a ridiculously long leash for the animal.

    I believe a dog should be no more than 4 feet away from its owner at all times while walking.

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    just after a minute in this video shows case in point

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigherc View Post
    Being an animal lover I would have a hard time pepper spraying a dog, after all it's not really their fault. I think it would be more effective to pepper spray the owner
    I'm an animal lover as well, but if this was a problem where I ride, I wouldn't hesitate to pepper spray a dog that was trying to bite me. It's MUCH better than having to physically hurt the dog to stop an attack. I think it's the most effective and humane way to deal with the situation if the dog can injure you. The owner should be pepper sprayed as well though!

  17. #17
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    I would've thought most of you guys were overreacting until I got bit last year by an off leash Doberman and it was totally unprovoked. The thing came running down a hill after me and afterward the owners gave the typical "It's never done this before" response. I had no recourse in that situation as we weren't in a 'park' with posted signs - not that I would sue someone anyway.

  18. #18
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    you were still in public land and unless i understand it incorrectly the law is that the dog shall always be leashed outside youre own property. i see no reason not to sue. people gotta learn somehow that somethings just are not ok and letting your animals attack someone is definitely one of them in my book.

  19. #19
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    You can perform a citizens arrest if you are attacked by someone else's dog, or if you see an owner negligently or intentionally allow their dog to attack someone. If you do this the police must come and take custody of the suspect, they will usually cite and release for the misdemeanor.

    San Diego County Code

    Sec. 62.669.1. PUBLIC PROTECTION FROM DOGS.

    (a) Any person owning or having custody or control of a dog shall at all times prevent the dog from attacking, biting, or otherwise causing injury to any person engaged in a lawful act; from interfering with the lawful use of public or private property; or from damaging personal property which is lawfully upon public property, or upon private property with the permission of the person who owns or has the right to possess or use the private property. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    California Penal Code §837
    A private person may arrest another:

    1. For a public offense (usually understood to mean a misdemeanor) committed or attempted in his presence.

    2. When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his presence.

    3. When a felony has been in fact committed, and he has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

  20. #20
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    Time to add handcuffs to your pack.

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    yeah call me crazy but i wouldnt let just any random person arrest me ha ha. im not just gonna willingly let some random dude put me in handcuffs or hold me down and call the fuzz. if someone told me they were placing me under citizens arrest i would just laugh at them.. better to call cops immediately try to obtain their name and or take a picture of them and their dog and if they go back to their car get their license plate number.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rageandlove View Post
    yeah call me crazy but i wouldnt let just any random person arrest me ha ha. im not just gonna willingly let some random dude put me in handcuffs or hold me down and call the fuzz. if someone told me they were placing me under citizens arrest i would just laugh at them.. better to call cops immediately try to obtain their name and or take a picture of them and their dog and if they go back to their car get their license plate number.
    I didn't say it was a good idea...

  23. #23
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    F dogs on trails! Hodges is the worst! Maybe we all need to call animal control and complain.

  24. #24
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    Oliver has the best solution so far in this thread. It hardly takes much effort. The more calls the better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    Oliver has the best solution so far in this thread. It hardly takes much effort. The more calls the better.
    Nah, I prefer going Dog the Bounty Hunter on people's asses and making citizens arrests.

    That right there was the best idea in this thread.

  26. #26
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    Only time i had a dog charge me was when i was stream fishing and headed back to my truck.Out there i always opened carried a .45 2 dogs came running owner not really doing much i got my wife to jump in bed of truck i dropped the poles and got my gun out as they were running hard .This got the owners attention real fast he somehow got dogs to stop but he didnt seem to do much as the dogs left from him and ran towards us barking and growling???.

    Funny how he quickly responded and then tell us how his dogs NEVER done that before.I told him 6 ft leash law and his dogs were about 10 ft from death.I use to have a rot that when out in public it always had a leash where it was required had an unleashed dog try to jump at mine too you guessed it owner of course tried to blame me but response was they need to have a leash if you have a problem why my dog defended himself call animal control i will wait here too.

  27. #27
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    I used to let my dog off leash in PQ about 12 years ago thinking it was harmless because she was a small dog. She was bitten by a large rattler and it almost killed her. It cost me over $1000 dollars to have her treated. I think taking some photos of rattle snake bites to dogs and blowing them up and putting them next to the leash law signs might help.
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  28. #28
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    Hey Aaron,

    I used to help with the Voluteer patrol in PQ. Granted this was 7+ years ago but we were under instructions to request the offending people to leash their dog and if they didn't we were to radio the ranger who would ticket. Not certain if the difference is because PQ is within the SD city limits proper.

    People can be real jerks. I could tell you stories about one fat arse and his three cairn teriers...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmy View Post
    I could tell you stories about one fat arse and his three cairn teriers...
    Please do!

    I actually get quite entertained reading stories like this.

  30. #30
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    I guess I best call up animal control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Addict View Post
    Please do!

    I actually get quite entertained reading stories like this.
    Nah... It's not that interesting. The guy obviously had more issues than just his dogs and who am I to comment on other peoples personal problems.

  32. #32
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    I live in a National Forest and loose dogs are the norm in the neighborhoods. My dogs are always on a leash when in public, and they're large (140lbs) so they don't get bothered. Even the coyotes run the other way. My brother who lives on the next street over has small dogs who get rushed by off leash dogs when he's down at the lake walking them. He stopped my the feed store and picked up a cattle prod and solved his problem.
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    Dogs don't hurt people, people hurt people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leadmoto View Post
    Dogs don't hurt people, people hurt people.
    Okay!?!

  35. #35
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    I recently heard a story of a local woman who carries mace and sprays any off leash dog that comes near her. I feel kinda bad for the dogs cause it is the owners who should be getting sprayed in the face.
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  36. #36
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    A story of those not in control of their animals ruining it for the rest of us. It is the people not the animal.

    I had a lady attempt to spray my dog while he was on a leash and we were simply walking by. Yep he's like my son and yes I went ape ****.

  37. #37
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    Looks like animal control was out at Lake Hodges on Sunday of last week handing out citations and warnings. This past Saturday I rode there and saw a total of three dogs all of which were leashed. Notices were also left on vehicles over the last 2 weekends notifying people of enforcement of fines. Apparently there were several other complaints.

    It just goes to prove that if you see something that is wrong SPEAK UP! Be polite and respectful but don't just let it slide. Sometimes people will listen and do something about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by watkinscapital View Post
    I had a lady attempt to spray my dog while he was on a leash and we were simply walking by. Yep he's like my son and yes I went ape ****.
    Wow, why the heck did she do that? I'm glad you went ape s*** on her. I would have to.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmangts View Post
    Looks like animal control was out at Lake Hodges on Sunday of last week handing out citations and warnings. This past Saturday I rode there and saw a total of three dogs all of which were leashed. Notices were also left on vehicles over the last 2 weekends notifying people of enforcement of fines. Apparently there were several other complaints.

    It just goes to prove that if you see something that is wrong SPEAK UP! Be polite and respectful but don't just let it slide. Sometimes people will listen and do something about it.
    Good to hear!

    I was there about a week ago, and there was a lady that looked like a 100 lbs walking a 120 lbs Rottweiler off leash close to Hernandez Hideaway. She quickly ran to her dog, and grabbed it by the collar. There was no way she could have held that dog back if something was to go wrong.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by watkinscapital View Post
    A story of those not in control of their animals ruining it for the rest of us. It is the people not the animal.

    I had a lady attempt to spray my dog while he was on a leash and we were simply walking by. Yep he's like my son and yes I went ape ****.

    Wow, that is terrible. No one should ever assault a dog on a leash.
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    Riding the connector trail between Laguna campground and Horse Heaven campground, I was almost attacked by two Presta Canario dogs owned by a family that was walking them, one off-leash, one on. Each dog weighed a minimum of 175 lb.s The guy lunged for the off-leash dog, and got it just as it began to lunge at me, the woman dug her heels into the ground, and the dog she had on leash was dragging her, slowly, like a water skier, towards me. Horse Heaven was closed on that day, but there were LOTS of people in the Big Laguna campground, where they were headed.
    I had a tanto blade K-bar length knife, from CRKT, razor sharp, in a kytel sheath on my waist belt, and I drew it very rapidly in a defensive draw, but they had flanked me, so that one dog could attack me from behind. It almost seemed deliberate. What was also interesting to me was that their child, who looked to be about 9 or 10, simply stood still, watching, with what looked like an expression of mild amusement/ anticipation on her face. Kinda like the look that Christina Ricci would affect as the Adam's family girl.
    With my knife, I have no doubt that I could have easily killed the one dog, but the other would get me from behind, and who knows, but I would have been seriously hurt, no doubt.

    I asked them which dog was named Lawsuit, and which dog was named Liability. They were profusely apologetic, but unlike all of the other dog-owner accounts given here, they made no pretense about not knowing how dangerous their dogs were. Woulda sounded pretty ridiculous if they did. Instead the told me they had no idea that I was coming towards them from around the bend, which is entirely plausible.

    I told them that they were headed to a place that had LOTS of kids, pets, and people in general, and asked them if they really wanted to take those animals into the middle of all that. It made me wonder what those folks were so afraid of, to have two dogs with so much violent potential.

    Anyway, they were kind enough to let me pass, but I did so without sheathing my knife. They seemed pretty weird to me, and I'm fairly tolerant with weird. I looked back frequently, and when I got up to the paved campground road, I saw that they had reconsidered their plan, and had turned around.

    So, that one turned into a win-win-win, I guess. I didn't get bit, they didn't lose a dog, and those picnickers didn't get terrorized.

    They were, all things considered, an order of magnitude more serious than the other dog encounters depicted in this thread. People really need to think about their responsibility for their animals, especially in public, whether they're dogs, cats, or horses.

    Oh yeah, and birds! Man, can one of them Macaws BITE!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    Oh yeah, and birds! Man, can one of them Macaws BITE!
    Yeah, no kidding.

    Geese are pretty aggressive little f***ers as well. They won't hesitate to attack a human if they're pissed off enough.

    It's always good to carry a blade. I carry an Emerson CQC-15 sometimes on my rides.

  43. #43
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    Presa Canarias in the Lagunas. Greeaaaaat

    DOL is totally the most common "violation" that volunteer trail patrol folks, or just plain rider/hiker/runners, encounter and for some of us, one of the worst parts of being a volunteer because people get so freaky when you ask them to leash up. They live "near the park, so what's the harm?"

    The deal at Lake Hodges is unique, because of the weird, joint powers funding up there that results in "lake rangers" who are neither City nor County rangers. So, as demonstrated above, the very best thing to do with Dogs Off Leash is to contact them and politely so: local land managers will do something about it, if you bother to inform.

    In Los Penasquitos and every other City and County trail system, the Ranger DO HAVE the power to cite, not only for you being an equestrian on a human-powered-only trail but also for DOL and other such stuff. Okay, the Ranger with the fortitude and integrity to cite an equestrian for anything may be a rare one, but they're pretty unanimous on the dog thing.

    The thing in places like Los Penasquitos is that it's not uncommon for folks with little dogs, even ON leash, to have them simply snatched right off the trail by coyotes that really aren't that much larger. On the other end of things, the trail runner that was treed by the two bigass, brindled Pits would probably have loved it for a pack of coyotes to stroll on by! --If you encounter folks either with dogs off leash or on super-long leashes, take a moment to call it in or send a friendly email to the Rangers at whatever park it is.

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    so if I'm walking my dogs off leash at LPQ on the hiker/horse only trail and get run into by bikers should we just call it a wash?

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    Quote Originally Posted by leanneinob View Post
    so if I'm walking my dogs off leash at LPQ on the hiker/horse only trail and get run into by bikers should we just call it a wash?
    Do you walk your dog off leash in areas where you know it is illegal?
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    Quote Originally Posted by leanneinob View Post
    so if I'm walking my dogs off leash at LPQ on the hiker/horse only trail and get run into by bikers should we just call it a wash?
    No, both would be at fault, and should be dealt with swiftly!

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    Here is my opinion being a regular weekly rider at Lake Hodges. The O.P. is full of crap there is no way he saw 36 dogs with 29 being off leash. You would be hard pressed to see 36 dogs on any given weekend day in a 12 hour span. Much less 36 dogs in a 1-2 hour span of riding this trail system. Even if there was this many which there wasn't there is no way 29 were off leash. I have been riding these trails 4 times a week which includes both weekend days for several years. In any given two hour span of riding a weekend day you "may" see 5 dogs. I don't believe any of these attack scenarios he shelled out either. He is full of B.S. and sounds like one of the numerous blue haired hikers that frequent these trails. "Oh Margaret that guy has his dog off leash" "Oh shame on him! Harold he ruined our day" lets cut our day short and go home and eat some oatmeal.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinDirt View Post
    Here is my opinion being a regular weekly rider at Lake Hodges. The O.P. is full of crap there is no way he saw 36 dogs with 29 being off leash. You would be hard pressed to see 36 dogs on any given weekend day in a 12 hour span. Much less 36 dogs in a 1-2 hour span of riding this trail system. Even if there was this many which there wasn't there is no way 29 were off leash. I have been riding these trails 4 times a week which includes both weekend days for several years. In any given two hour span of riding a weekend day you "may" see 5 dogs. I don't believe any of these attack scenarios he shelled out either. He is full of B.S. and sounds like one of the numerous blue haired hikers that frequent these trails. "Oh Margaret that guy has his dog off leash" "Oh shame on him! Harold he ruined our day" lets cut our day short and go home and eat some oatmeal.
    Sorry to bust your bubble there bub but every word I wrote is 100% true. I'll admit on most days seeing more that 10-15 dogs is a rarity but on the day in question thats how many I counted. I emailed the ranger because I was amazed at how many I had seen that day. I never meant to imply that this was an average day. Since you are a regular rider there I am sure you have seen me a time or two. I am hard to miss, I am the guy on the 1936 Mercury or the 1941 Schwinn DX or the Ellsworth Epiphany and I drive a blue Tacoma with a camper shell. Anytime you feel like having calling me a liar please feel free to do so in person. Not sure what time you ride but I have seen 10 dogs some days before leaving the parking lot.
    Last edited by sandmangts; 05-13-2012 at 10:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmangts View Post
    Sorry to bust your bubble there bub but every word I wrote is 100% true. I'll admit on most days seeing more that 10-15 dogs is a rarity but on the day in question thats how many I counted. I emailed the ranger because I was amazed at how many I had seen that day. I never meant to imply that this was an average day. Since you are a regular rider there I am sure you have seen me a time or two. I am hard to miss, I am the guy on the 1936 Mercury or the 1941 Schwinn DX or the Ellsworth Epiphany and I drive a blue Tacoma with a camper shell. Anytime you feel like calling me a liar please feel free to do so in person. Not sure what time you ride but I have seen 10 dogs some days before leaving the parking lot.
    Nope sorry your story doesn't hold water. Lake Hodges sometimes holds water but your story, not. There is no way there was that many dogs out there. Were you out there counting for three weeks as far as seeing your ugly blue truck I have for sure seen. See you tomorrow 3 and 5pm with BIG dog off leash.

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