Look out for the troll of the Rio Grande Trail

Dear Editor:

I have often told my kids to stand up to bullies. But what did that really mean? I had my chance to find out Oct. 29 around 5 p.m. The long story is kind of silly. Man walks on trail. Man sees dog owner, who is not so much a man but a troll, come toward him on trail with two dogs off leash. Suggestion is made to put dogs on leash; troll decides to test bullying capability, words are yelled, police are called.

Once the police arrive, said troll never again utters the words: “You are a miserable piece of shit.” Nor does he say again, “You were probably the nerd in school, getting beaten up all the time.” Kind of made me laugh actually because the troll acted like all those bullies you see in the movies: The adult shows up, and the bullies have a well-rehearsed story and style about them.

Problem was, he didn’t have any leashes for his dogs, nor did he care. The best part: He already had his run-in with the open space ranger earlier this year. He was looking at a $600 fine for three offenses committed with his two dogs. Watching his face when the fine total was announced was priceless.

When he tried to say that the bikers his dogs greeted so merrily were grateful for his being such a conscientious dog owner, he did not realize that one of the bikers was a land steward for Pitkin County Open Space. The land steward also had called the park ranger and told a story less favorable of the troll’s actions.

Turns out the troll got off easy: $100. For those of you who think that even that is unreasonable, let me ask you this: Have you had any friends who have been knocked over by a lovable dog whose owner is an irresponsible troll? I have. I also have treated two people in the past year who were knocked over. All of them were knocked over by dogs off leash, two on bikes, one while walking. All suffered major traumas; one even needed a hip replacement, suffering an injury similar to Bo Jackson’s.

This troll was a bully. He was entitled to do whatever he wanted. He even said so. And along with that entitlement, to do whatever the f— he wants, he now has a “record” with Pitkin County Open Space. With his behavior, he is also now on the radar with the Aspen Police Department.

When you see this troll on the Rio Grande, you will know it is he with his two gorgeous Rhodesian ridgebacks. Beware: He is a bully. If his dogs impede your progress or knock you over, it is your fault, not his. Stand up to him. The rangers and police have your back. He likes to get right in your face – until he realizes you did dial dispatch at 970-920-5000. Then he just yells a lot.

Tim Reed