We all make mistakes, however sometimes what is billed as a "mistake" crosses the line to willful negligence.
Samantha Blakeley, the owner of the @thewanderlustdogs Instagram account, posted images and video of her dogs off leash in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado on the Isabel Glacier Trail and at Lake Isabel. Thing is that dogs are always required to be leashed in this area, and are not allowed at all between November 15 and April 30. Sam was sent a private message about this on 1/5/20, but she choose to not only ignore that message and block the person that sent it, but post additional photos from the hike with her dogs where they were not allowed.
When I followed up, she insisted that "I blocked you because you're an ass hole. Not because you didn't inform me of something I didn't know". Ok, so she knew the rules but decided to ignore them, but the person who reminds her about said rules is an "ass hole"? This doesn't make a ton of sense.
Samantha did post an "apology" post, which started with making by making it clear that she was "internet bullied" and finished by telling people they should "campaign to raise money for Australia" or "help kids stuck on the boarder" instead of bothering her. In a true show remorse, the picture Sam used in her apology post was a picture from that same hike, with an off leash dog where dogs are not allowed.
In a final sendoff, Samantha decided to compare the people who called out her illegal behavior to a rapist, showing a level of insensitivity that is hard to wrap ones head around. She then started deleting comments and blocking anyone who wasn't 100% supportive of her. At one point there were 385 comments shown for the post, but you could only see 229, for a total of 156 comments like the ones below, that Sam chose to delete for being too "negative".
Don't take my word for it. The screenshots are below. You can also listen to the Sweet for Certain Podcast episode where this incident is discussed in detail. Sam was invited to be on the podcast. She declined.
The DM to @thewanderlustdogs, 1/5/20 @ 7:10AM
Post on 1/6/20, the day after the above DM was sent.
Note the geotag and off leash dogs.
After being called out, Sam is kind enough to admit that she did in fact know the rules before she was informed of them via DM.
"Apology" post. Note it features an off leash dog at the same location she was called out for having dogs where they aren't allowed.
Just a few of the comments that were deleted from the above post for being too "negative"
Two days after being called out, @thewanderlustdogs is still posting pictures from the same hike, showing dogs where they are not allowed.
Comparing the person who called out her behavior to a rapist.
And finally, a few more examples of @thewanderlustdogs ignoring leash laws.
Making mistakes is ok. Making the same mistake over and over and over, refusing accountability, and then playing the victim when you finally get called out for it? That's a different story. If you're a pet-centric company looking for someone to rep your brand, you can do better. There are plenty of folks out there that are good examples and follow dog laws that are put in place to protect wildlife and reduce user conflicts on public lands. Choose wisely.
@thewanderlustdogs, when you read this, remember, mistakes are ok! It's how you handle them that shows true character. This list ever changing and the title of this page could easily say "Influencer acknowledges mistake and helps others learn how to respect our public lands!". If you ever want to chat about this incident and take steps towards promoting the respect and protection of public lands, send me a email.