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#56059 - 08/21/19 10:26 AM Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry?
Paul Online


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Well, just back from a couple days of hiking out of Onion Valley and want to share an interesting observation.

On Monday, I encountered a hiker just below the pass with a dog. I asked where she was heading and she responded, "Kearsarge Lakes." I mention that dogs are not allowed in the Nation Park. She responded by saying, the dog is a comfort dog, so it is okay.

I was flabbergasted.

And, the same situation on Tuesday with another hiker, with the same response.

I decided to stop by the Visitor's center on my way back home, but ran into two Forest Rangers, and they indicated that the only dogs allowed in the backcountry were guide dogs or service animals.

paul

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#56062 - 08/21/19 12:35 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Paul]
timisimaginary Offline


Registered: 12/13/18
Posts: 11
Loc: MD
comfort dogs seem unnecessary. the backcountry is already full of comfort marmots, comfort chipmunks, comfort mosquitos, comfort bears...

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#56068 - 08/21/19 02:57 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: timisimaginary]
StorminMatt Offline


Registered: 06/20/19
Posts: 33
Loc: Norcal
What it all comes down to is whether this “comfort dog” is actually a registered service animal.

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#56074 - 08/22/19 08:48 AM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Paul]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 106
Loc: East Coast Florida
Only seeing eye dogs should be allowed in parks, planes, or elsewhere. These comfort dogs are scams by people who can't bear to leave Fido at home or who are too cheap to pay for boarding. They are gaming the system.

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#56079 - 08/22/19 04:38 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: RichardK]
Paul Online


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
The following is a response from Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park regarding "comfort dogs."

Hello Paul,

Thank you for your interest in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks!

You are correct, only service dogs are allowed on trails at Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP. Dogs that are considered therapy, comfort, or emotional support do meet the Federal guidelines for service animals. This is a very difficult thing to enforce. Please keep your own safety in mind before confronting anyone about their dog.

Thank you for reporting your experiences.

Have a wonderful day!

Sincerely,
Public Information Staff

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#56085 - 08/23/19 10:08 AM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Paul]
Paul Online


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
The following is a response from Inyo National Forest out of Lone Pine regarding "comfort dogs."

****************************************

Hi Paul,

We have noticed the increase in visitors with pets that do not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act definition of a service animal.
On the Inyo National Forest side of the Sierra pets are allowed. We do inform visitors about the National Park policy on animals when they are issued a wilderness permit with a travel plan into the Parks.

*****************************************

So, is there a difference in understanding between the two entities?

paul

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#56089 - 08/23/19 12:29 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Paul]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7910
Loc: Fresno, CA
Paul,
National Parks and National Forests have very different rules, and dogs are just one. Guns can be carried in a National Park, but not "discharged". Hunting is allowed in National Forests.

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#56091 - 08/23/19 12:41 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Steve C]
Paul Online


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
True Steve and I understand that logic, however, in my conversation with the Inyo Rangers as I descended from Kearsarge Pass, they, the rangers had firm ideas as to those with dogs heading into the National Park. Their views were the same as the national park. However, it seems the Inyo visitor center was different in their official response.

I have absolutely no problem with the National Forest rules, I am just tired of people claiming that they have a right, via having a comfort dog to enter the national Park.

paul

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#56092 - 08/23/19 12:46 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Paul]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7910
Loc: Fresno, CA
I don't think you got mixed answers from Inyo vs the trail rangers: Trail rangers were referring to the nearby backcountry and were probably thinking about the other side of Kearsarge Pass, which of course is SeKi. If you had pressed them to elaborate, backcountry in the National Forest vs National Parks, they would likely have given you the same info as your email from Inyo.

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#56093 - 08/23/19 01:11 PM Re: Comfort Dogs in the Backcountry? [Re: Steve C]
Paul Online


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
No problem Steve. The comfort dog issue just irritates me. It's people using comfort dogs as an excuse.

paul

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