Oregon Humane Society urges people to keep dogs leashed while hi - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Humane Society urges people to keep dogs leashed while hiking on trails

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Warmer weather is on tap and that means many people will be hitting the trails, some with man’s best friend. This week the Oregon Humane Society had a warning for hikers and their loyal companions.

During a two-week window this month, rescuers have been called to the Columbia River Gorge four separate times to save dogs who had fallen off the trail, over cliffs or even waterfalls.

Unfortunately none of those dogs survived the falls, but experts believe those losses could be avoidable.

Nick Brown and his new pup Bode are still figuring things out.

“With Bode we’ve been debating how much freedom to give him,” said Brown.

The duo can usually be found hiking. Their favorite trails are in the Gorge, but Brown said that’s also where Bode has had a few close calls.

“He had gotten a drink at a creek, but the creek was right on top of a small waterfall, which gave us quite a scare,” said Brown.

Ullie Neitch is a member of the technical rescue team with the Oregon Humane Society.

“The biggest thing that goes wrong is family members think dogs off leash is having more fun,” said Neitch.

Neitch and her team train to locate and rescue a dog in danger on the trail.

“Dogs have horrible depth perception in the first two to three feet of their eye sight. They can literally walk right off the edge of the cliff and not even realize it’s there,” said Neitch.

In the past two weeks Neitch’s team has responded to four different dog recoveries in the Gorge.

“We got calls to rescue four separate dogs who went over cliffs and waterfalls. In all 4 of these incidences it was not the rescue of an injured dog, it was a recovery mission because none of four dogs survived.”

Neitch says that’s why it’s best to keep your dog leashed, especially in the Gorge.

Hikers need to be very careful as well. Rangers said many trails are unstable because they haven’t dried out just yet.

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