Submitted by beetroot747 t3_y77pix in vermont

I was at the park this Sunday afternoon, and I came across not one, not two, but THREE unleashed dogs. I found it absolutely shocking since you can’t have dogs off leash anywhere in public except designated areas.

The first two dogs kept running about, chasing each other, and making me terrified to even go past them (I have a fear of dogs, I do NOT hate them). I stood frozen in place, not knowing what to do.

Eventually the owners got the common sense to leash them back. But they kept removing the leash every now and then, so I had to keep a safe distance from them. Pretty much ruined my trip.

So I wanted to know whether it’s common for dogs to be off-leash here (here, as in the park)? I checked the park info boards, they clearly mention to keep dogs on leash at all times. What am I missing here?



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suffragette_citizen t1_isszrrz wrote

As a frequent hiker this is one of my only complaints about the trails here. There are way too many people with untrained dogs who let them run loose, and then act like you're the problem if you ask them to leash their animal. Or, god forbid, put a hiking/ski pole between you and the dog when they're acting aggressively towards you.

My husband is also nervous around dogs, especially large ones, and we've had a few different hikes this year interrupted by rude dog owners who got argumentative when we asked them to follow the regulations after their dogs jumped all over us.

If you can't consistently verbally recall your dog the first time, they shouldn't be off leash at all. If a wildlife area/park says leash your dog, they need to be on a leash. If a trail says no dogs...don't take your dog. It's not safe for other people, it's not safe for your dog, and its disruptive to wildlife to let them run all over the place.


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_isti69y wrote

>If a wildlife area/park says leash your dog, they need to be on a leash

If there is no sign telling you to leash your dog, that also means you should leash your dog, that is the default, not the other way around.

You should never let your dog off leash anywhere that is not explicitly marked
"off leash allowed" unless you are on private property with the owners permission.


[deleted] t1_ist1u5v wrote



ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_ist3zc4 wrote


This is absolutely false, there is a leash law in Stowe, this is just a rumor started by an inconsiderate dog owner. Unfortunately dog people are super selfish and can't be bothered to simply Google the town to see if there is a leash law.

Pro-tip, pretty much every town in Vermont has a leash law.


beetroot747 OP t1_ist74se wrote

Wow, I had no idea some dog owners can be this mean.


[deleted] t1_ist597v wrote



ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_ist7mn4 wrote

Fwiw: People who let their dogs off leash are selfish a-holes, who have no respect for the place they are visiting, or the people who are negatively affected by their narcissistic behavior.

I am sure there were people who's hike was ruined by this incredibly selfish behavior.

There is no legitimate reason to let your pet off leash in public, don't be that person, have a little respect.


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_ist9jog wrote

>Those two would lie down at the top, bothering no one

But they ARE obviously bothering people. Have you even bothered to read the comments here? This is why folks hate dog people, they go around claiming that their animal is "bothering no one" even where people are expressing that they are, in fact, quite bothered by this selfish and inconsiderate behavior.

A significant portion of the population has a well deserved fear of dogs. About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the US alone.

This is also very irresponsible towards the wildlife, unleashed dogs chase and harass animals and leave waste behind.


[deleted] t1_ista2dh wrote



ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_istd8qd wrote

Again, you are still just insisting on something that is obviously NOT TRUE.

It doesn't matter how well behaved you think your dog is, if it is off leash it is a threat to everyone and to the animals and environment that they are in.

Why are so many dog people assume that everybody loves dogs?

Again, a significant portion of the population has a well deserved fear of dogs and having to encounter an unleashed animal can be quite traumatizing and ruin someones day.

Why do so many dog owners insist on never considering the negative impact that their selfish, narcissistic, behavior has on the people around them?


[deleted] t1_istefeb wrote



ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_isth03j wrote

>Is it possible that we could allow these two gentle and passive dogs on just one trail out of the 870 trails in Vermont? That seems ok to me if people were told dogs off leash on trail - which wasn’t posted here.

No, it is super selfish and irresponsible to let dogs off leash on hiking trails.

It is your responsibility to know the law and taking bad advise about "dog friendly" places on the internet is no excuse.

Also assuming that it is ok to let you pet off leash just because there is no sign telling you not to is idiotic, selfish and irresponsible.

When a trail is not marked, the default is leash your dog, not the other way around.


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_istge6n wrote

>My behavior is not selfish and narcissistic

Yes, it is. You keep trying to claim that these animals were "harmless" just because YOU thought they were well behaved.

Any unleashed animal is a threat to some people, animals and the environment, no matter how well behaved YOU think they are.


qrqrqrqr4 t1_istauya wrote

This is definitely not true. I didn't really have a problem with those dogs, but if you sat down to eat a snack up at the top they would sit right down next to you and breath very smelly dog breath in your face while hopefully waiting for a snack. You move, they move. Certainly not aggressive or violent but they did approach people minding their own business


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_istdgr6 wrote

Yeah, I don't want your animal anywhere near me, especially if it is not on a leash.


[deleted] t1_istb5b3 wrote



qrqrqrqr4 t1_istd2rw wrote

Totally fair. I wasn't upset to see them, but I could see how that behavior, even just occasionally, would bother folks


beetroot747 OP t1_ist7blj wrote

That’s just terrible. Such people shouldn’t be allowed to have dogs. I’d have freaked out if I saw two unleashed dogs with their owners no where to be seen. It would have brought back PTSD from an incident I had in Denver last year.


[deleted] t1_ist9myx wrote



beetroot747 OP t1_ista23k wrote

“Well-behaved” is a subjective term. What may be “well-behaved” to you may be the opposite for me.

Personally, I’d be wary of any dog that’s off leash, no matter how well-behaved the owners claims it to be.


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_istdv64 wrote

I don't, letting your dog off leash on a hiking train is super irresponsible and inconsiderate.


suffragette_citizen t1_ist3hgs wrote

One of the reasons we haven't done it, actually -- we try to check beforehand to see what regulations are, and we go to a lot of bird sanctuaries because they're typically prohibited there. But, of course, people still bring their dogs :/


realmadrid111 t1_ist35jl wrote

Yeah, it's like this in all the "leash only" areas I'm usually in. Also gives people the excuse not to pick up after their dogs, because they get to pretend they're not shitting everywhere. I have a dog, and it drives me nuts how entitled most dog owners are about this stuff.


beetroot747 OP t1_ist7p70 wrote

I’ve seen my share of entitled dog owners too. I just didn’t expect to see them up here in northern New England. Granted, I believe all three dog owners here are tourists from elsewhere in the country.


realmadrid111 t1_istv2mg wrote

Contrary to what you often see in this sub, we also have some jerks in Vermont! We too are at times guilty of bad driving, bad parking and other dickish behavior :)


beetroot747 OP t1_istvbk2 wrote

Hahahaha, I’m a Masshole living in NH so I totally get it 😂


AdventureSheepies t1_issyiuu wrote

Some people just think the rules don't apply to them. I think the campsite next to me had their dogs off-leash, but they left before it became an issue for me (I have a dog that stays on a leash - she's totally friendly but will get over-excited if she notices a dog running around that she wants to play with). Everyone I saw on the trails had their dogs on a leash. But it happens. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself when you come across something like this. Or if you don't feel safe approaching the dog owners, mention it to a park ranger. Leash laws exist for a reason and some people just don't seem to understand that the world doesn't revolve around them.


beetroot747 OP t1_ist0uns wrote

Thank you for being a responsible dog owner. Whenever something like this happens (even on the streets), I don’t feel safe approaching the owners for whatever reason.

I really wish there was atleast one park ranger around on the trail. I’d have let them know for sure.


beetroot747 OP t1_ist8zgv wrote

I’ve done a few hikes in the New England area too, and for the most part, dogs are always leashed and the owners are super understanding and considerate when they see me scared.

This park is literally the first time I’ve experienced dogs being off leash, so I was curious to know whether it’s a common practice here.


AdventureSheepies t1_istjsr1 wrote

I come across unleashed dogs fairly often. It's not like there is a lack of places to take your dog where that's allowed, but people do it anyway.

Quechee is a pretty big tourism hot spot this time of year. I was at the campground this weekend and there were a lot of people. One of my neighbors was flying a drone over our campsites while I sipped my coffee at like 9am. Sounded like a swarm of angry bees. Another neighbor was playing their music loudly enough for everyone to hear for hours. Tourists aren't always the most considerate people. Not out of malice necessarily, but they can act a little clueless sometimes.

All that aside, there are a few places in the state where you can hike that don't allow dogs at all. Look for places that are wildlife conservation areas.


yhtomitn64 t1_isuinwj wrote

It’s not that shocking as it’s not enforced. It’s like littering. I don’t see anything being done about this. Seems like it’s going to have to be just people talking to each other and coming to an understanding.

A lady, was mad at my three-year-old at the Richmond farmers market last Friday because he bumped into her dog and the dog snapped at him. At this point I think the dogs are just out of control I mean, so are the kids but I like my kid more than the dogs


[deleted] t1_issym2i wrote



beetroot747 OP t1_ist6yah wrote

Thank you sir, I appreciate the apology but you don’t have to apologize on behalf of them.

I just wish there were atleast a couple of park rangers around. I would’ve told one of them for sure


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_ist52ab wrote

Tourists come here imagining that the whole state is their personal dog park because they are out in the country. It is super inconsiderate to not leash your dog anywhere that is not your own personal property or an off leash area of a dog park.

Then they get on social media and tell everyone how "dog friendly" it is here and post a million pictures of their untrained pet off leash all over the place.

It is NOT ok to let your pet roam free on hiking trails people. It's also not ok to bring your dog into stores and restaurants, which I see tourists trying to do all the time.


Trajikbpm t1_ist9zt5 wrote

Tourists? Please my whole town let's their dogs run free and constantly cry on FB when they don't come home for days in freezing weather. Dogs in the street in people's backyards and usually it's the same people over and over having the whole town looking for their lost dogs again and again.. Stop the blaming one side its so beyond rediculous at this point. Clean up your own shit in your own back yard. There's enough there like every other state.


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_istc7b3 wrote

Yup, it's not just tourists!

We have more than our fair share of irresponsible, selfish dog owners here already, the tourists just compound the problem.


[deleted] t1_isuav5f wrote

It is not tourists. I am a serious hiker and the worst thing about hiking here in VT and NH is the people with loose dogs. The dogs frequently run far ahead of the owner and act very defensively once they see somebody.

I know they are not tourists when there are no out of state plates in the parking area.


ThisistheInfiniteIs t1_isudbeu wrote

This is true, it's not just tourists, we have more than our fair share of selfish, inconsiderate dog owners here already, we don't need to be importing any more of them.

Many folks do not even comprehend the mortal dangers of letting their dog loose in the woods, especially during hunting season, let alone the fact that some folks carry pepper spray for just such an occasion.

Vermont is not a dog park, have some respect for the people and places that you visit folks, even if it is near your home and you think that you can "get away" with it.


suffragette_citizen t1_isxkwdg wrote

Exactly -- my "favorite" encounter with a rude dog owner this year was in Groton over Labor Day weekend when a guy called us flatlanders because we asked him to leash his dogs after they ran up to us, growling with tails down, and started sniffing us down and slobbering on us. When we told him his were the only unleashed dogs we'd encountered the entire hike he said "well, they must all be flatlanders, too."



beetroot747 OP t1_ist893c wrote

I did ask the third dog owner to leash up. Her dog (looked like a golden retriever, just walked up to me). She just went off without a word. I looked back, and the dog was still off leash.


KestrelVT t1_isv4g61 wrote

As a rule I find that most dog owners think that the rules don't apply to their dog because their dog is a good dog.


EasternKanye t1_itjfn9g wrote

A friend of mine was hiking up when he heard people coming down talking. They were talking about how their dog just bit someone on top. When they met a young boy was holding the leash. The dog ended up biting my friend.


beetroot747 OP t1_itkxs2d wrote

Omg that is so fucked up. I hope your friend is fine now


EasternKanye t1_itlh2rz wrote

He is but he was pissed.

Years ago my wife & I were hiking in Stowe with our elderly dog. Our dog was off leash but she stayed with us. She never had any interest in strangers, she just wanted to be with us.

2 women were coming the other way with a herd of dogs. One dog (a pit mix) saw our dog and made a mad dash for her. It immediately tried to break our dogs neck. They both fell of a cliff. On landing the mix let go of our dog and came up with it's tail wagging. The owner of the dog yelled at my wife for being so upset.

I blame rescues for adopting out vicious/reactive dogs but downplay the risk/issues. They also make people feel like they are doing Gods work when they adopt more than one dog. So we now have people out there that have bit off more than they can chew when it comes to dog ownership.


flambeaway t1_iswoyf9 wrote

>I found it absolutely shocking since you can’t have dogs off leash anywhere in public except designated areas.

That is entirely untrue.

Neither Vermont nor Hartland requires leashes in public areas. Hartland requires that a dog not "run at large" which means a dog that is none of the following:

> A. On a leash;

>B. In a vehicle;

>C. On the owner’s property;

>D. On the property of another person with that person's permission;

>E. Under the verbal or nonverbal control of the owner; or

>F. Hunting with the owner.

Specifically, these people probably felt their dogs were under "verbal or nonverbal control" despite the fact that the clearly weren't, and that they were required to be leashed in this area anyway.

I'm sorry for that.


Briko03 t1_isv6uk1 wrote

Maybe it was a coyote, or a wolf. I don’t think leash laws apply to them.