RECREATION

DWR asking Utahns to keep dogs on a leash while in the outdoors

Apr 18, 2022, 8:29 PM
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The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are asking Utahns who head outdoors this spring to keep their dogs on a leash. Photo credit: Department of Wildlife Services

SALT LAKE CITY — As more and more people begin to get outdoors to enjoy the warm weather, the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is asking all Utahns who head into the outdoors to keep dogs on a leash.

This request is made to ensure that no wildlife is not chased or harassed. 

Dogs in the outdoors

According to the DWR, Utah wildlife usually struggle during the winter months to find something to eat. By spring, wildlife is usually vulnerable and weak. Dogs that are off their lease can often act upon their instincts to chase wildlife and other big game. 

“If they get chased, it uses up energy they may need to survive,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones said. “These animals are already depleted, and they often can’t afford to waste energy. If you or a pet force them to move away from where they are trying to feed, it could be harmful.”

During the winter months, deer and other big game animals typically move to lower elevations in an effort to find food. In such situations, big game wildlife can often be drawn closer to roads or other populated areas where people and pets may be. 

It’s smart to keep dogs close by

Although there may be other areas around the state where dogs aren’t required to be on a lease, the DWR says a dog chasing wildlife can be dangerous to both animals. 

“Wildlife is often unpredictable and may injure or kill a dog seen as threatening,” Jones said.

Additionally, dogs that are off a leash can bother nesting ground birds. They can also chase, injure or kill small mammals, according to the DWR. 

According to Wild Aware Utah, offers some tips to keep dogs safe around wildlife.

  • Keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.
  • Be aware that moose can be especially aggressive toward dogs.
  • Always supervise pets when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
  • Avoid going near den sites and thick vegetation.
  • If you find an animal carcass, leave the area. It could be a kill that a cougar is guarding or will be returning to.
  • Make noise while hiking.
  • Do not allow dogs to “play with” or chase wildlife. It is against Utah law to allow dogs to chase or harass wildlife.

 

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DWR asking Utahns to keep dogs on a leash while in the outdoors