How to ensure dog safety on trails

MARQUETTE– For all the dog parents and even fellow hikers, it’s important to know the rules while taking your furry friends on the trails.

Taking man’s best friend along with you on a hike is the perfect day for some, but not everyone is a dog lover and for safety reasons some places our four legged friends are not allowed. Different municipalities have their own rules and regulations regarding pets on trails.

“If the local municipality does not have an ordinance then it goes to State law and State law requires that the dogs be on a leash,” Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt said. “There are some exceptions like leader dogs, or when dogs are hunting and that type of thing but in general they have to be on a leash in the State of Michigan.”

Chocolay Township has more relaxed regulations just asking owners to keep dogs under control- no leash required. Popular places in Marquette such as Presque Isle Park and Echo Lake don’t allow dogs.

According to the Sheriff letting dogs run free on some trails is an issue this time of year

“Sometimes they can cause some accidents where mountain bikers are on the trail, going sometimes at pretty good speed, and the people will be out there with their pets exercising them and the dog will get in the way causing an accident,” Zyburt said. “Also sometimes they will approach the hikers and the hikers don’t know if the dogs are mean, vicious, you just never know how a dog will react to someone else.”

Another important thing to keep in mind when taking your dog out in the summer is the heat. Test the pavement with your palm- if it’s too hot for you, it is too hot for the dogs paw.