Candidate Endorsement

Dear FIDOS Friends –

There are many things to consider as you decide which candidate to vote for.  We have been asked about where the candidates stand on the “off leash” issue and have sent a questionnaire to each of them to gain an understanding of their feelings.  We have copied below the responses that we have received.  Some responded directly to our questions and those are shown in bold print.  Several simply sent a statement that you will see here and we have not received responses from others.  As additional responses are received, we will be sure to post them for you.  We hope these responses will be of interest to you and may help with your voting decisions.

 

FIDOS has decided to endorse Arlyn Bradshaw for County Council District 1, which includes Salt Lake City.  Mr. Bradshaw has supported the idea of “off leash” space and has taken steps to persuade Salt Lake County for the first time to include “off leash” space in their parks planning.  We would encourage members residing in County Council District 1 to vote for Arlyn Bradshaw. 

 

Your Friends at Millcreek FIDOS.

www.MillcreekFIDOS.org

COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT “AT LARGE” – CANDIDATES MICAH BRUNER & JENNY WILSON

 

RESPONSE FROM CANDIDATE MICAH BRUNER -

1 – Do you consider residents who prefer to hike or spend time outdoors with their dogs off leash a valid recreational user group?

2 – What benefits do you think off leash open space provides to residents?

I believe our easy access to nature is one of the biggest assets we enjoy in Salt Lake County. I believe in allowing all to enjoy parks and our beautiful natural surroundings.

Where, as here, we have competing interests, or interests that are arguably at odds with one another, it becomes important to ensure that the rights of both groups are preserved. If we provide space that is designated as “off leash open space”, then we provide those with a specific set of interests the ability to enjoy the outdoors under their circumstances. Similar to a publicly owned golf course, a publicly owned off leash park allows those wishing to engage in a particular activity the space in which to pursue that activity.

3 – Do you understand the difference between and need for the two types of dog parks, small fenced in neighborhood parks and large unfenced open space/trails? Do you feel that residents who exercise with their dogs off leash deserve space that is pleasant, close to home and offers amenities such as shady areas?

I won’t pretend to understand all aspects of this issue as I have not explored it in depth. However, I can appreciate how a dog owner would benefit from both a fenced in area at a local park and a large spacious area where that dog owner can exercise and allow a dog to explore in different ways.

I can also appreciate the desire for those with dogs to want to enjoy pleasant, shady areas while exercising their dogs.

4 – According to The Trust for Public Lands, dog parks across the country were developed at a rate of 34% as opposed to all other parks which stood at 3% over the last five years. In Salt Lake County over that same period of time, off leash space has been substantially decreased. Salt Lake County operates only one off leash area, Millcreek Canyon, which admittedly is a great resource but is only available to off leash half of the time and a trip to use the resource is generally difficult for residents during the workweek. If you become a Salt Lake County elected official, what would you do to provide additional appropriate open spaces of both types? And how soon would you take these steps?

As I mentioned, this issue is relatively new to me. As with all issues, I am not the type to jump in without getting input from all interested parties before formulating a plan to meet the needs of groups of residents. Based on the study you have cited, it appears Salt Lake County is behind on developing off leash areas for dogs. There may be a number of reasons for that, and I would want to better understand why we are not providing the space for off leash dogs at the same rate as other areas of the country before establishing a goal for adding a certain amount of off leash space in the county. Obviously there is an issue that needs to be addressed, I just want to understand it.

 

CANDIDATE JENNY WILSON HAS NOT YET RESPONDED TO THE FIDOS REQUEST

 

COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 – CANDIDATES ARLYN BRADSHAW & RICHARD BARNES

RESPONSE FROM CANDIDATE ARLYN BRADSHAW –

1 – Do you consider residents who prefer to hike or spend time outdoors with their dogs off leash a valid recreational user group?  Of course I do! In fact, I consider myself part of this group.

2 – What benefits do you think off leash open space provides to residents? Off leash open space provides areas where dogs can recreate with their people. Both get necessary exercise, and important socialization. Having areas where residents can legally spend time with their dogs off leash, I believe, is an important component to a vibrant community that supports all of residents.

3 – Do you understand the difference between and need for the two types of dog parks, small fenced in neighborhood parks and large unfenced open space/trails?  Do you feel that residents who exercise with their dogs off leash deserve space that is pleasant, close to home and offers amenities such as shady areas?Yes to all.

 4 – According to The Trust for Public Lands, dog parks across the country were developed at a rate of 34% as opposed to all other parks which stood at 3% over the last five years.  In Salt Lake County over that same period of time, off leash space has been substantially decreased.  Salt Lake County operates only one off leash area, Millcreek Canyon, which admittedly is a great resource but is only available to off leash half of the time and a trip to use the resource is generally difficult for residents during the workweek.  If you become a Salt Lake County elected official, what would you do to provide additional appropriate open spaces of both types?  And how soon would you take these steps?As an elected official, I have continually pushed our Parks & Recreation Department to include off leash areas as parks are developed—to some resistance. The department tells me that in their usage surveys, off leash dog areas have come in fairly low on the needs scale. I find that hard to believe, and some Council allies and I are presently preparing a directive to Parks & Rec that in each county regional park, there be an off leash area. Additionally, I am researching the possibility of allowing unfenced off leash use in various parks through the implementation of posted hours.

5 - There is a small but very vocal contingent of well-connected people who oppose use of open space for off leash recreation.  There is a much larger passive group who are forced to quietly break the law due to the lack of well distributed and pleasant legal space.  Dog walkers are an easy target for criticism.  Are you willing to go up against a vocal minority to enhance the lives of such a large group of constituents and would you be willing to include FIDOS and off leash users in discussions?Definitely. I look forward to this continued dialogue.

 

RESPONSE FROM CANDIDATE RICHARD BARNES -

Thank you for your inquiry.  Although I am not a dog owner, and my wife of 16 years (Brenda) and myself are sadly allergic to dogs, I recognize that many of our citizens enjoy owning dogs, cats, and other pets for companionship, as service animals, for security, and many other duties. The sheep dog trials at soldier hollow are always amazing to watch.
No forms of animal cruelty should be tolerated, as criminals who have abused humans have generally started on animal victims as well.
My father’s family generally had a cat for many years, and we have always been very saddened at their passing. I truly appreciate the efforts of “no kill” animal shelters, and admire those who take in abandoned animals and care for them.
As a geologist, conservationist, and amateur astronomer, I appreciate dark skies and open space wherever possible. Off-leash do parks are okay with me so long as all feces and urine are removed by the users at their own expense. Bags and disposal cans should be provided in any such areas established or maintained by SL County. Private parks should also be encouraged and maintained at the users expense. Gated communities, and home-owners that attempt to exclude hikers from the established trails of larger recreational hiking areas I have a problem with.  I also supports other types of parks, arts organizations and individual artists, zoos, and golf courses (although I am usually out working if the weather is good enough to support my wife and myself and sadly have had little time to enjoy  many of these activities in recent years).
If elected, I will work hard in your behalf, and hope that I can still earn your support .

 

COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 3 – CANDIDATES DAN SNARR & AIMEE WINDER NEWTON -

RESPONSE FROM CANDIDATE AIMEE WINDER NEWTON -

1 – Do you consider residents who prefer to hike or spend time outdoors with their dogs off leash a valid recreational user group? A: Absolutely!

2 – What benefits do you think off leash open space provides to residents? A: Off leash open space allows residents and their dogs a place to play and roam. It’s good for mental and physical health of both residents and animals.

3 – Do you understand the difference between and need for the two types of dog parks, small fenced in neighborhood parks and large unfenced open space/trails?  Do you feel that residents who exercise with their dogs off leash deserve space that is pleasant, close to home and offers amenities such as shady areas? A: I understand the differences between the two types of parks and why both are needed. I do think residents should be able to find off leash areas that are close to home and have shade.

4 – According to The Trust for Public Lands, dog parks across the country were developed at a rate of 34% as opposed to all other parks which stood at 3% over the last five years.  In Salt Lake County over that same period of time, off leash space has been substantially decreased.  Salt Lake County operates only one off leash area, Millcreek Canyon, which admittedly is a great resource but is only available to off leash half of the time and a trip to use the resource is generally difficult for residents during the workweek.  If you become a Salt Lake County elected official, what would you do to provide additional appropriate open spaces of both types?  And how soon would you take these steps? A: As a current council member I have already had discussions with my colleagues about pushing for more dog parks. We’ve even thought about asking for current county parks to provide an off-leash area that could be fenced.

5 - There is a small but very vocal contingent of well-connected people who oppose use of open space for off leash recreation.  There is a much larger passive group who are forced to quietly break the law due to the lack of well distributed and pleasant legal space.  Dog walkers are an easy target for criticism.  Are you willing to go up against a vocal minority to enhance the lives of such a large group of constituents and would you be willing to include FIDOS and off leash users in discussions? A: I think it is always best when those involved have a seat at the table and can help come up with solutions. I absolutely support including everyone in these discussions.

Aimee Winder Newton

(801) 808-5103

awnewton.com

 

CANDIDATE DANIEL SNARR HAS NOT YET RESPONDED TO THE FIDOS REQUEST

 

 

 

 

COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5 – CANDIDATES STEVE DEBRY & KIT ERIKSEN
RESPONSE FROM CANDIDATE STEVE DEBRY -
Rather than respond specifically to each question, I thought I could summarize my thoughts pretty concisely for you and the members of FIDOS.As a dog owner, I empathize with the challenges faced by those who want space to recreate with their dogs in an off-leash setting. As a Councilman, I will be a friend to proposals to expand those opportunities in a fiscally responsible manner.
Best Regards,
Steve DeBry

County Council
District 5

 

CANDIDATE KIT ERIKSEN HAS NOT YET RESPONDED TO THE FIDOS REQUEST

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF – CANDIDATES JAKE PETERSEN & JIM WINDER

 

RESPONSE FROM JIM WINDER –

 

Dear FIDOS,

Thank you very much for the opportunity to respond to your questions and concerns. I have very much appreciated the support of your organization in the past and look forward to a continued positive and constructive relationship moving forward.

1 – Do you consider residents who prefer to hike or spend time outdoors with their dogs off leash a valid recreational user group?

I am one of these individuals. I spend a great deal of time with my dog in Salt Lake County, much of that time is spent off lead in areas that are appropriate for this use. Clearly this is a valid and necessary part of the recreation profile in any major urban area, and one that must be maintained.

2 – What benefits do you think off leash open space provides to residents?

It provides significant social opportunities for the residents, but more importantly provides a significant physical and mental release for the animals. This opportunity to “appropriately exercise” results in calmer, healthier and better behaved animals once they return to their homes. A happy dog in a home and yard makes for happy neighbors.

3 – Do you understand the difference between and need for the two types of dog parks, small fenced in neighborhood parks and large unfenced open space/trails?  Do you feel that residents who exercise with their dogs off leash deserve space that is pleasant, close to home and offers amenities such as shady areas?

There is a critical need to provide both enclosed and off lead environments. Both offer completely different experiences and benefits to humans and dogs alike. The interaction and social needs of humans and dogs vary greatly based on personalities, physical and social attributes and certain teams will thrive in one environment over the other. Additionally due to the ever increasing urban sprawl it is simply impossible to allow unlimited off lead opportunities in some locations and as such the enclosed parks offer a legitimate compromise of competing needs.

4 – According to The Trust for Public Lands, dog parks across the country were developed at a rate of 34% as opposed to all other parks which stood at 3% over the last five years.  In Salt Lake County over that same period of time, off leash space has been substantially decreased.  Salt Lake County operates only one off leash area, Millcreek Canyon, which admittedly is a great resource but is only available to off leash half of the time and a trip to use the resource is generally difficult for residents during the workweek.  If you become a Salt Lake County elected official, what would you do to provide additional appropriate open spaces of both types?  And how soon would you take these steps?

I have for some time been a strong proponent of exploring additional open space for this type of use on Salt Lake Counties West side. While the locations may not be viewed by some as aesthetically pleasing the opportunity for an off lead experience is of critical importance to the long term wellness of many breeds. As land acquisition opportunities open up, I am convinced that property will be set aside for this purpose. With respect to timing, unfortunately the growth patterns and pressures are largely driven by property owners and developers, as such some of these plans may not materialize for some time. As an elected official, specifically one that deals routinely with the conflicts inherent in the on/off lead animal discussions. I will continue to advocate for mixed use and appropriate enforcement to ensure both sides are treated fairly and equitably as our community continues to grow.

5 – There is a small but very vocal contingent of well-connected people who oppose use of open space for off leash recreation.  There is a much larger passive group who are forced to quietly break the law due to the lack of well distributed and pleasant legal space.  Dog walkers are an easy target for criticism.  Are you willing to go up against a vocal minority to enhance the lives of such a large group of constituents and would you be willing to include FIDOS and off leash users in discussions?

Yes there is an inherent conflict that has and will continue to be present between these two groups. In my capacity as Sheriff I have actively engaged in, and more importantly, taken steps to ensure these two groups communicate and engage in positive dialogue. I and our agency have worked diligently to bridge the gaps between cabin owners, urban residents, federal land use agencies, City and County Governments, developers, bicyclist, hunters, and skiers to ensure that on and off lead dog owners are both heard and accommodated. Moving forward I and our agency will continue to be an active and neutral supporter of mixed use throughout all of Salt Lake County.

I have and will continue to be a supporter of FIDOS and other resident groups who are simply trying to find very difficult balance within the context of an increasingly dense urban environment.

 

CANDIDATE JAKE PETERSEN HAS NOT YET RESPONDED TO THE FIDOS REQUEST

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