Mountain Express: Sun Valley Struggles With Off-Leash, Sometimes Violent, Dogs


The chief of police in Hailey says his community's problem of dogs-at-large attacking other animals, and in some cases killing the pets, "is not an epidemic, but it is an issue."

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports that Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter has confirmed increased incidents of aggressive dogs, including biting citizens on the community's bike path and fighting with other dogs in their own yards. According to the Express, there were five criminal cases involving dogs in Blaine County Magistrate Court this week alone.

Meanwhile, Sun Valley's interim Police Chief Walt Femling confirmed that dogs-at-large continued to be a problem in his community as well.

"I would characterize it as a consistent problem as long as I can remember," said Femling, a former Blaine County sheriff. "There are responsible dog owners and there's irresponsible dog owners, and I would hope that most of them are responsible."

In one recent instance, a Wood River Valley man was sentenced to a 60-day suspended jail term, placed on unsupervised probation for 18 months and fined $252 when his pitbulls killed a 13-year-old Siamese cat in Sun Valley on July 4. The cat's owner said the dogs' owner allowed the animals to run at-large. Neighbors said they witnessed the killing, according to the Mountain Express.