Run for the hills! Seems two families are feuding in Lake Highlands, and no one’s sure when or if it will end.

The battle is between the Canidaes and the Equidaes. For those who don’t know Latin, that’s the canines and the equines (you know, dogs and horses).

And it seems that 260-acre Moss Park isn’t big enough for all of them.

Lake Highlands resident John Hicks says the issue involves lots of local folks, including him, his dog Dixie, many of his neighbors, their dogs, and several horses and their owners, who board them at Rocking M Stables next to the park.

Hicks says he and other dog owners have been taking their four-legged friends to Moss Park for years, and it has been a great way for them to get to know each other.

“I’ve been going to Moss Park about three years, since we got Dixie. I go there just about every day. Usually there’s kind of a camaraderie between the dog people. We get to know people, and the dogs enjoy socializing.”

But the dogs really have fun, he says, once they’re off their leashes.

“My dog has got to have some exercise. Boarder Collies need to be stimulated, or they’ll get depressed. Have you ever tried throwing a Frisbee, ball or a stick to a dog on a leash?”

Hicks says his dog is well trained, and most of the other dogs are, too. But he says some horse riders in the park are afraid of them anyway, and they become upset when they see a dog off its leash.

“It’s a huge area, and they can always avoid us,” he says. “But we’ve been on a trail before and see two or three horses, and they’ll have 100 different options of where to go. They’ll come right up to you, then get mad because your dog is not on a leash.”

Molly Mayes, owner of Rocking M Stables, says she makes a point to be considerate of others when she rides in the park and instructs her boarders to do the same.

“When I’m riding out there and I see a dog, 10 to one, I turn around and go the other way,” she says. “And if I ever hear of any of my boarders being rude, I come down on them – hard. We want to be a part of this park.”

Both say the real conflict started several months ago, when a dog startled a horse and caused it to buck.

“I understand there was a homeless guy there, with three dogs, and a Rottweiler chased the horse and a woman fell off,” Hicks says.

“When that one attack happened, there was a complaint,” Mayes says. “The person (on the horse) was 70 years old, and she’s been riding for 30 years, and it scared her to death.”

Since the incident, Hicks says dog owners increasingly have been ticketed for not having their dogs on leashes.

“I know three people who’ve been ticketed, and it seems it’s always around $300,” he says. “It’s ridiculous.”

City Councilman Bill Blaydes says the police are just doing their jobs. “There’s a leash law in the city of Dallas, and the dog people unfortunately don’t seem to understand that.”

But it seems the lease issue is only the beginning. Dog owners have become more vocal with their complaints about horse manure in the park.

“We want to tell the horse people, we’ll put leashes on our dogs if you’ll clean up your horse poop,” Hicks says.

Blaydes says he’s heard about that complaint, too.

“There’s no limit to where people can go on their horses, and most people walking in the park get upset about that, because that horse isn’t wearing a diaper. But there’s not a code that you have to pick up after a horse,” he says.

There are more problems. Some dog owners says the horse owners don’t help maintain the park like they do, and for that matter, neither does the city.

“The city doesn’t touch the park,” Hicks says. “They don’t do anything. Usually it’s the dog people you see up there who are cleaning up the park.”

But Mayes says the horse people clean up, too.

“We take the kids back there, walk around and clean up. We go pick up everybody else’s trash and help keep it trimmed.” Turning a portion of the park into a dog park has been suggested, but Blaydes says that’s not possible because it was bequeathed to the city with limits to its use.

“If we mow it, sell it, do anything beyond a public park program, it reverts back to the heirs,” he says.

He says there just doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to the issue.

“It is a controversy within the park where both sides are adamant in their defense,” he says. “It sounds like I’m coming down on the horse side, but the way the code is written, I don’t see any other way.”

Hicks says he has an idea.

“Maybe horse people can ride certain times of the days and dogs can be out certain times of the day,” he says. “That way, the two shall not meet. Or have certain areas where the dogs can roam around and have fun.”

Mayes says she’s more than willing to work with both the city and the dog people to reach a solution.

“I can’t tell you how much Rocking M wants to be part of this community,” she says. “I’m gonna bend over backwards to resolve this, to say, ‘Let’s make peace.’ There are real fights in this world, and this isn’t one of them.”