SUPPORT THE LEASH LAW FOR ALL NON HUNTING DOGS IN WMAS
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I STRONGLY SUPPORT MASS WILDLIFE PROPOSED LEASH LAW AT WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS FOR ALL NON HUNTING DOGS.
The hunting community is concerned with unleashed non-hunting dogs on the grounds of Massachusetts Wildlife Management Areas. These are not public dog parks. This is an obvious safety hazard and concern along with potential liabilities to all sportsmen that are lawfully participating in hunting or sporting activities on lands that were purchased largely with fees associated with sportsmen licenses and stamps, and taxes on sporting equipment.
On February 06, 2018 a hearing was held at Mass Wildlife Headquarters in Westborough. Wildlife Management Areas are not public dog parks. Wildlife management areas are designated for hunting. We agree that as stated by Mass Wildlife, "Many municipalities have leash or animal control bylaws, but those bylaws and ordinances do not have legal standing on state lands. The proposed regulations address this circumstance."
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars in recent years on the construction of paths dedicated exclusively for biking, running, and dog walking. Traillink.com has hundreds of trails and paths listed throughout Massachusetts. The Department of Conservation and Recreation also has an extensive amount of property exclusively designated to hikers, bikers, and dog walkers throughout the state. Before hunting accidents and other related tragedies begin to increase I strongly believe that with an abundance of other options in Massachusetts, for the duration of hunting season, dog walkers should seek alternate places to walk their dogs.
Ideally, we would like to not see dogs, with the exception of hunting dogs in WMAs during hunting season at all. Some of the most serious accidents in Mass have occurred when a person was walking their dogs during hunting season. This could be avoided by banning dogs altogether. As hunting season really only transpires between October-February, we think it is more than fair that Mass Wildlife consider this an option that could save lives.
Lastly, for safety issues, we would also suggest that leashed dogs (and owners) in WMAs during hunting season have some type of hunter orange, even a $1 orange or red bandana would prevent a potential accident in the event the dog 'breaks leash', or escapes the direct control of the dogs owner.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Hunting Community of Massachusetts
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