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Thread: No, pet dogs are not allowed in Baxter State Park.

  1. #31
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    Daytrip mentioned that there seems to be a lot of vitriol regarding the topic. I've learned long ago to avoid dog discussions. Dogs are great, owners/partners are people and there are all kinds of people...........
    I didn't take this as a "dog/no dog" post. The OP seems to be very irate about the seemingly false statement about the dog owner and the process for gaining entry. I don't know anyone personally on this forum so maybe it is a "no dog" post but that wasn't how I interpreted it.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I didn't take this as a "dog/no dog" post. The OP seems to be very irate about the seemingly false statement about the dog owner and the process for gaining entry.
    I guess until the owner clarifies what actually went down at the gate we really don't know how the dog was portrayed to park staff.

    But, if it was a service dog, not performing a service at the time of the hike, it should not have been taken into the park, period.

    No different than me borrowing granny's handicap placard for a trip to the supermarket ....

    And a disservice to those who really need and deserve special consideration.

    Hey, if someone would do that, how do we know they REALLY made all the summits on a list?? haha

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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    To date I haven't seen any formal response from BSP. IMHO, the "begged & pleaded" is far more likely a dramatic justification for a far simpler solution, lying about the dogs status. As far as I can see and much to the frustration of many, the Service Dog category comes down to a self affirmation by the owner that the dog is or isn't a Service Dog. There is an entire industry that has sprung up around the ambiguity. With the exception of the two questions there is no way that the status can be challenged and to do so brings instant threats of litigation. There have been attempts to clarify this issue but to date the legal systems seem to be weighed heavily towards allowing the abuse of the service dog category by individuals who want special treatment for their pets. Thus you have a dog owner that appears to be immensely bonded to her companion animal who has shown a very distinct flair for publicity in the past who has a high motivation to answer yes to a question that cannot readily be challenged and is easy to obfuscate with terms like therapy dog or emotional support animal.
    Agreed - lack of formal legislation has led to gray areas and problems for the people that truly need a service animal. Also I've never seen people who have an honest service dog (and a true need for them) flaunting pictures of the "special privileges" their dog gets on social media - those dogs have a job to do but are not (and should not be) treated like celebrities by their owners.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    Just want to clear something up regarding recent social media posts and photos of a hiker and her dog on Baxter Peak. Only service dogs are allowed in the Park, There is no "interview process," no "applying", no "special exception," no "legitimate reason." Either the dog is a service animal, or not. Pets are not allowed.
    How does Baxter Park determine if a dog is a service animal or a pet?

  5. #35
    Senior Member TJ aka Teej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    Her story seems pretty credible to me.
    Baxter is a Wildlife Preserve.You think you can just talk your way around "no pets"?
    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    She may have succeeded in cajoling BSP into letting Superpup in where other owners of non-on-duty service dogs might have failed.
    No one "cajoles" Baxter into dropping the "no pets" rule.
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    Baxter is a Wildlife Preserve.You think you can just talk your way around "no pets"?

    No one "cajoles" Baxter into dropping the "no pets" rule.
    I see three interpretations here.
    (1) We live in a world of black-and-white rules. Rule enforcers are infallible. The original claim is fake news or alternative facts.
    (2) Some people have legitimate reasons to bend the rules and reasonable rule enforcers are reasonably persuaded. No animals or people or park resources were harmed.
    (3) The original claim is that of a braggart who gamed the system, taking advantage of fallible rule enforcers. Plenty of blame to go around.

    Without first-person testimony from the parties involved, all is speculation. I prefer to think that people are good (1 and 2) and reasonable (2 and 3).
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  7. #37
    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Thus you have a dog owner that appears to be immensely bonded to her companion animal who has shown a very distinct flair for publicity in the past who has a high motivation to answer yes to a question that cannot readily be challenged and is easy to obfuscate with terms like therapy dog or emotional support animal.
    That could be true, but I'm disinclined conclusively to draw that inference on the evidence presented. Were I to talk with Alton face to face about it, I might better be able to assess. Something tells me Gov. Baxter himself, presented with the force of nature that she be, would let her bring Cole with her to hike in the park. Hard to turn back to determined a spirit.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    Something tells me Gov. Baxter himself, presented with the force of nature that she be, would let her bring Cole with her to hike in the park. Hard to turn back to determined a spirit.
    It is so fascinating to me that we have the same source material and, in good faith, reach opposite conclusions. IMO Gov. Baxter' charter prioritizes the flora and fauna over human enjoyment of the park. So I don't think he would have said ok.

    I agree it is difficult to prevent determined people from abusing rules and regulations.

    I also agree that we should give her the benefit of the doubt as to whether or not her dog was trained to provide a service for her for a disability she has. I am inclined to doubt it, based on everything I have read, including her FB posts, she wanted to do this hike with her dog and gamed the system.

    The analogy of handicapped parking permits is spot on.

  9. #39
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    Alton's website states about Cole: "He is a certified therapy and emotional support animal." It's not out of the realm of consideration that Baxter officials did ask the two questions that they are allowed to ask (paraphrased here), 1) is this a service dog? and 2) what service is it trained to provide? Both questions could be answered honestly to gain admittance, and that's the limit of the requirements. Whether Alton is the person who uses the services that the dog is trained for is not part of the legal questions, nor is "will you be using the services that your dog is trained for while you are in BSP?"

    It seems to me that this is a case where the dog was allowed in correctly, based on current law, but we don't know whether it was ethical for Alton to use the law in that way.
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  10. #40
    Senior Member injektilo's Avatar
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    Hmm... While I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, her website says that the dog is a certified therapy and emotional support animal and that she is a mental health clinician. It doesn't require much brain power to reach the conclusion that the dog is likely used FOR her profession. I'm very skeptical SHE required it to climb Katahdin. As stated above, this seems akin to using your grandparent's handicap sign so you can park closer to the store. I own a dog but don't care for them on the trails and I'm glad that BSP has the policy it does regarding them. If someone has a true need for a service dog, fine. A quick look at her website though...

  11. #41
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Alton's website states about Cole: "He is a certified therapy and emotional support animal." It's not out of the realm of consideration that Baxter officials did ask the two questions that they are allowed to ask (paraphrased here), 1) is this a service dog? and 2) what service is it trained to provide? Both questions could be answered honestly to gain admittance, and that's the limit of the requirements. Whether Alton is the person who uses the services that the dog is trained for is not part of the legal questions, nor is "will you be using the services that your dog is trained for while you are in BSP?"

    It seems to me that this is a case where the dog was allowed in correctly, based on current law, but we don't know whether it was ethical for Alton to use the law in that way.

    Q3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?
    A. No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.


    Source: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

    The questions, as I cited early, from the same source, are:


    (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
    (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?


    Note that (1) includes the text required because of a disability.

    Note also that it is entirely possible Cole is a service animal and the website from which his credentials stemmed is not up-to-date. It is also entirely possible Alton has a disability for which he is required which she has chosen not to make public.

    Note that the citation is the federal/ADA guideline. Maine law may well allow emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals into BSP.

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    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 07-05-2017 at 11:44 AM.
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  12. #42
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by injektilo View Post
    Hmm... While I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, her website says that the dog is a certified therapy and emotional support animal and that she is a mental health clinician. It doesn't require much brain power to reach the conclusion that the dog is likely used FOR her profession. I'm very skeptical SHE required it to climb Katahdin. As stated above, this seems akin to using your grandparent's handicap sign so you can park closer to the store. I own a dog but don't care for them on the trails and I'm glad that BSP has the policy it does regarding them. If someone has a true need for a service dog, fine. A quick look at her website though...
    I would agree with this. Unfortunate she has to beat her own drum so loud. It makes me wonder just how stringent the Authorities at BSP really are and just what their entry criteria is. Her FB page says she is "The proud owner of a baby Wolf". Now that would be a whole other can of worms if your thinking what I am thinking. Like to give her the benifit of the doubt but it does not seem like the cards stack up that way.
    Last edited by skiguy; 07-05-2017 at 12:02 PM.
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  13. #43
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    I would agree with this. Unfortunate she has to beat her own drum so loud. It makes me wonder just how stringent the Authorities at BSP really are and just what their entry criteria is. Her FB page says she is "The proud owner of a baby Wolf". Now that would be a whole other can of worms if your thinking what I am thinking. Like to give her the benifit of the doubt but it does not seem like the cards stack up that way.
    Emotional support dog? No such thing as far as ADA is concerned. No specific training, no standards, no certification. It's all hooey.

    IMHO she is a scammer, pure and simple.

    And the folks on Baxter's gate (often summer-intern type kids) were probably trying to be nice, or just got tired of "being cajoled."

    Then she brags about. YOU GO GIRL!!!

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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post

    And the folks on Baxter's gate (often summer-intern type kids) were probably trying to be nice, or just got tired of "being cajoled."
    That's what I think happened. Afterwards, supervision found out about it, coached the employees and created a corrective action to spread the word about the "no pets" policy.

  15. #45
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I wasn't going to get back on this thread, but I changed my mind. Alton does beat her drum loud, for many, that's a bad thing. To me, it's show's she is excited, happy and exuberant. Her dog is not a wolf, it's a catch phrase she uses, he is a Shiba inu. I have followed her on FB for some time. I've also met her in person. She is incredibly nice and friendly, not to mention supporting to anyone she meets regardless of their level of hiking ability. Unfortunately, she is routinely targeted in mean spirited ways because of her flamboyancy. I guess that's why, frankly this thread has not been up my alley so to speak. Bottom line, her dog is certified and legal to enter the park. She sought and received approval by the park, there was no end game here. They made the decision to let her dog in. I find it interesting that still isn't good enough for some. Do you know if she has a condition not publicly known? are you comfortable slandering her without concrete knowledge that she doesn't? Maybe time would be better spent complaining to Baxter officials about rules your not pleased with, then insinuating she committed malfeasance. The good news is, she's pretty dam strong and used to this type of thing and to busy doing a presi traverse with Cole to even care. Now, I'm done with this.

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