“Unleashed dogs greatly increase the potential for accidents, whether in confrontations with other aggressive dogs, jumping on hikers or chasing runners and bicycles,” said Pisgah District Ranger Dave Casey.
Dogs also may be tempted to chase wild animals, causing them stress or harm.
At Bent Creek — which is located outside of Asheville — dogs must be kept on a leash of 6 feet or less. An educational campaign launched last spring to help recreationalists understand the need for leashes, and signs were posted in the area. While most dog owners complied with the rule once they understood it, about one-third of them have “persistently continued to ignore it,” Casey said.