The email said: “Hello Mayor, A friend and I took a bike ride on the trail last evening, 9/20, about 4:30. We rode north to the tunnel and back. As we approached Marlinton on our return we were chased by a dog. It was not a friendly dog wagging its tail, but a good size dog with threatening behavior. Luckily, we had e-bikes which we could speed up quickly and out run it, but it chased us aggressively for probably 60 yards.”
My Response: The person reporting this situation happens to be a business owner in the tourism industry and a member of the Greenbrier River Trail Association Board. These persons may be more sensitive to the immediate danger and potential fallout of this type of experience, but it should be a concern to all of us. For the safety of residents and visitors, I assure you, it is a major concern to the Town. We have seen first-hand what can happen. It should be a major concern for any animal owner. As the owner, you are responsible for damages and injuries. You should put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Think about children who may have an encounter such as this.
I had a neighbor who recently passed away. She would routinely walk her little dog around the block. Her experience with dogs, a few years ago, sent her to the hospital. Worse yet, she never felt safe after that.
Besides, the lack of responsible care is not fair to the animal. Maybe this latest episode was not the norm. The dog may have gotten loose this particular time. Still, owners of animals that run loose must take responsibility for them. Be assured, an enforcement official will follow up on this complaint and others. Dogs are loose all over town. Owners must control their animals. We/the Town must do better with the issue of dogs running loose in the Town.
On a positive note, the sender of the email acknowledged the cleanup of the area alongside the River Trail and how much better it looked. Too bad, the email could not have stopped there.