Into the Hills: Dogs on Trails
BLACK HILLS, S.D. — Hiking is possibly one of the most beautiful, exciting and popular things to do when visiting the Black Hills. A lot of people might want to bring their dogs with them on these trails, but there actually some rules that should be followed when bringing your dog out for some of these hikes.
“If you’re out in the forest with your little critter or your dog, you know whatever, it’s just a good idea to have them on a leash you know. It’s regulation that you have to have a dog on a leash on a trail. So really, it’s about protecting your own pet and protecting other pets and for the safety of other people. So, yeah it’s important to have your dog on a leash,” said Scott Jacobson, Public Affairs Officer with the Black Hills National Forest.
The trails aren’t the only place your pup needs to lease up. James Flynn with Animal Services and Enforcement says, “Most areas are posted whether the dogs can be off leash. A couple areas that come to mind where a lot of people don’t know whether they’re allowed to be off the leash Jackson park, Canyon Lake Park. We frequently get called out there about dogs being off leash. Those areas dogs do need to be on a leash.”
People and dogs aren’t the only ones who use some of the hiking trails in our area either..
“Areas like M Hill, we recommend that a lot of people use leash but there are a few that don’t. Not only for running up to people, stuff like that, but wildlife in that area too. We recommend leashes for that area so the dogs aren’t running through the tall grass areas where they can’t be controlled,” Flynn adds.
There are several places in Rapid City that require your pet to be on a leash and if they’re not, then you as the owner could face the consequences. The Rapid City Restraint Ordinance requires direct physical control of your dog – a.k.a. a leash. The dog has to be under your physical control, not electronic. So even if you have a hunting dog that responds directly to an “e-collar” this technically is not a method of physically controlling your dog.
But don’t worry, there are places where your pooch can run as free as the wind blows. “Areas where it’s private property, dogs do not need to be off a leash and Braeburn Dog Park off of Highway 44, that is an area specifically designed where dogs can be off leash. But the thing to remember with that area is that the dogs need to be maintained under verbal control. Meaning when you talk to the dogs, they need to be obeying your commands and they cannot be running up to everyone and stuff like that,” says Flynn.
So remember, it’s great to take your furry friends with you, just make sure you’re following the rules whenever you go out into the hills.