Dogs Don't Protect Against Bears

Letters to the Editor / Juneau Empire / May 3, 2004 

"Wow" is all I can say about Tiffany Farrell's letter about dogs. Everyone should know that a dog will not protect you from a mad brown bear sow with cubs, it will actually attract them to you if your dog gets too close to them or their cubs because the sow will attack and chase your dog and in most cases the dog will run right back to its master. Large male brown bears, 1,000-plus pounds, will back off from a smaller sow protecting her cubs because she will fight to the death. So don't think your dog will do any better. Don't be fooled: Black bears can be just as - if not more - dangerous than brown bears on occasion too. I have heard many stories about people's dogs getting torn up or killed by black bears. If you want protection from a brown bear or bears in general, keep your dog on a leash when in bear country and try to avoid bears and carry pepper spray. In the last few years there have been brown bears in the valley by the Mendenhall Glacier that have wandered all the way out to Fritz Cove and the Mendenhall Peninsula and, of course, many black bears are all over the Juneau area.

People also need to realize that dog owners are responsible for their dogs' actions. If your dog poops, it is as if you dumped it and is an extremely unhealthy, nasty form of littering. Pick up after your dog if it is near where people live or frequent. Otherwise make it go off in the woods like most of the other animals. I don't think you would like someone crapping outside your back door, so don't do it to people who live by the places you walk your dog. This is our back yard and we shouldn't have to deal with crap from stupid dog owners who don't pick up after their pet. It isn't the dog's fault. It is the owners who are at fault. It takes very little effort to take a scoop and a bag with you on a walk.

I do appreciate and commend dog owners who are responsible with their dogs and abide by the leash laws and the littering laws.

Matt Keopple / Juneau

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