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Leashing out how safe is your dog?

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Q. As an animal control officer, what are the biggest challenges you face in the spring?

A. The biggest difficulties Animal Control faces in the spring are the increase in the number of dogs that run loose. As well as dogs pooping and the owners not picking it up.

According to the Municipal Code your dog must be on a six-foot leash or shorter, and under your control.

The fines for your dog running at large can be as much as $75. Owners are also required to pick up after their pets.

The Municipal Code allows me to issue a citation for failure to pick up animal excrement up to the amount of $50.

Many diseases are transmitted when your animal smells or steps in another animal's poop.

Q. Is it dangerous to let your animal out of the house without a fence or leash?

A. It is very dangerous to let your dog out of the yard without a leash. An animal that runs at large is at danger of being hit by a car.

They are also at risk of picking up all kinds of diseases; such as Giardia Kennel Cough and Parvo.

Your family pet could easily get into trash and swallow glass, plastic, or anti freeze, which is fatal.

A dog that has been infected with Parvo and survived, can spread the disease every time it poops for a period of a year.

When your dog comes into contact with this fecal matter it is easily infected.

The cost of treatment, if caught in time, can range from $600-$900.

Q. If someone is bitten by a dog, is it the fault of the animal or the owner? Hos is this dealt with legally?

A. If your dog bites someone, the owner is responsible.

In most cases the owner is issued a citation for vicious dog and dog at large, if the dog was off the owner's property at the time of the incident.

If your dog is not current on its Rabies vaccination or you are unable to provide proof, your dog will be quarantined at the Animal Shelter for a period of 10 days.

If your dog is current on its Rabies vaccination you have the option of quarantining the dog at home for the 10-day period.

The dog is only allowed out of the house on leash to go to the bathroom, then it must immediately return to the residence.

You are not allowed to walk your dog or let it out in the yard.

If you are found in violation of the quarantine the dog will be impounded at the shelter for the remaining time. The owner could be liable for all doctor's bills resulting in the incident as well as any other civil responsibility. If you are a home owner, your insurance carrier will most likely terminate your policy.

Q. Is there anywhere in the county where you can let you dog off the leash?

A. The City of Steamboat Springs does not allow dogs to be off leash. In other words, you must have your dog on a leash at all times.

There is no place in town where you are allowed to walk your dog or play with your dog off leash. This is for the protection of your pet. There are more than 1,200 dogs in Routt County alone.

If everyone was allowed to walk their pet off leash, we would have a catastrophe.

Q. What area in town has the biggest problem with stray animals?

A. I would have to say there is not one specific area of town that has a hirer instance of dogs running at large.

Obviously, heavily populated areas usually have more dogs.

It is not uncommon for a dog to run at large and travel all the way across town, crossing Lincoln Ave. and Hwy. 40.

A dog can travel approx. 1 mile in 15-20 minutes, so keep this in mind when your dog is running at large. That does not take into contact the speed at which your dog travels when chasing another dog or wildlife.

If your dog is caught chasing wildlife you could be fined approx. $400 and your dog could be shot.

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