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Unhappy trails

Dear Editor:

I see Open Space Ranger John Armstrong is in the news again. I’ve been taking note of his exploits over the past few months, and his overbearing Nazi-like actions have finally reached the critical mass required to get me to write my first-ever letter to the editor.

John first came to my notice when he knocked on my door one evening last winter and said that he had received a report from some unnamed person that two dogs had been off leash on the trail and had ended up in my yard, and that if it happened again, there would be a ticket. People (and their dogs) go through my yard all the time to get to the bike path. The report was not that the dogs had caused any problems. John did not see them. And yet he thought it appropriate to threaten to ticket me. (How would you feel if the sheriff knocked on your door and said someone reported a driver with a car like yours speeding on Highway 82 and turning onto your street and that if it happened again, you’d be ticketed?)

Other news articles that have caught my attention include one about John flagging hundreds of dog poop piles on the Arbany Kittle Trail, and one article in which John was quoted as saying that if you are walking your pet on one of the few trails that do permit off-leash dogs, and Fido wanders behind you or stops to sniff something while you continue on, you are subject to ticketing because your dog is behind you, and not in your direct line of sight.

And now, how his heart must be atwitter! He has issued tickets and warrants may be served! (Aspen Daily News 5/29/09, “Dog scofflaws may be headed for deep doo-doo”) It is my understanding that John was asked to leave the Pitkin County sheriff’s department because he was not a good fit with the community. In a word, he was overzealous. But now he has found a home as an open space ranger, and by God, he WILL enforce the letter of the law without regard for common sense.

Could we please get rid of this Nazi?

Jennifer Long

Snowmass


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