I want to express my concern about the dogs allowed to run off-leash at Rattlesnake Lake and challenge the Cedar River Watershed Education Center to take a more proactive role in protecting the wildlife and educating the public.
It’s bad enough the number of unleashed dogs you encounter trying to hike on the Rattlesnake mountain trail, but my wife and I just witnessed two dogs attack and maul one of two white geese we have been watching daily throughout the winter and early spring months.
The owner had no control over these animals, and although he attempted to get them away from the goose, we watched horrified as one of the dogs bit into the bird’s leg and dragged it around the water. Once the owner removed the dogs from the scene (never checking on the bird’s condition, but getting in his car and driving off with his dogs), it was easy to tell the bird was clearly injured and we cringed as it dragged itself up on shore unable to walk.
There should be a mandatory leash requirement near the lake where there are always geese, especially at this time of year when there are numerous goslings unable to fly. There is sufficient land above the main parking area that could easily be used for an off-leash dog area.
Further, we were dismayed several months ago when the Valley Record published a picture of a father and daughter feeding the geese at the lake. While it may have made for a cute photo op, Rattlesnake lake is not a petting zoo and these birds should not be fed by humans as it only makes them more vulnerable to dog attacks.
Over $6 million was invested in building The Cedar River Watershed Education Center. It’s time for them to invest a few hundred dollars in signs that may help to prevent this type of tragedy in the future.
We have seen many responsible dog owners who have excellent control over their dogs and make full use of the park. But when there are others who cannot even call off an attack by their animals, something needs to be done!