No dogs allowed

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— My first impression of Steamboat Springs was that it was a dog town.

It came when I was in college at Colorado State University. At that time my parents, who live in Loveland, would make trips to Steamboat Springs most Labor Days. They came for the vintage car races and, being owners of a sweet '68 Chevelle convertible, showed their car in a car show.

When they would arrive home they would tell me the one thing they noticed about people in Steamboat Springs was that it seemed everyone had a dog. Honestly, that was my first impression of this town that there were a million dog owners here.

And when I moved here, I realized they were right. It does seem like everyone is mandated by the local government to own at least one dog.

When I became a "secondary caregiver," according to our veterinarian, of my girlfriend's dog about a year ago, I soon realized that this may be a dog town, but it's not really a dog-friendly town. In fact, it's one of the most dog-unfriendly towns I've ever been in.

With the numerous parks and dog owners in this town, it seems almost unbelievable to me that there isn't a park allowing dogs to be off their leashes.

The only places in Routt County where dogs are allowed off leashes are in agricultural zoned areas, which is meant for a rancher's herding dog, and the national forest.

First, don't take your dog to an agricultural area to run free. It's likely to get shot. Enough said.

Second, I don't think the national forest is the best place for dogs to be running off their leashes, either mainly because of mountain bikers. Yes, there are some good spots where there aren't many bikers, but no matter where I hike with my dog, I have visions of a mountain biker flying down the trail and my little black dog getting in the way and causing certain injury for both parties.

What we really need is a place just meant for dogs like a park.

Animal Control Officer Stacy Hayes said there was once some talk around town about getting a dog park proposed, but it never materialized. She also said that all it would take is a visit to the Steamboat Springs City Council to talk to our representatives and it could be considered.

Someone needs to do that. Or even better, someone on the City Council should just step up and propose it. It's a good idea that should be considered and my dog, Jed, will thank you.

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