Bob Riley takes a walk with his dog, Madison, along the Spring Creek trail in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon. An off-leash trial program proposed by the Responsible Dog Ownership Group of Steamboat moved closer to fruition during a Steamboat Springs School Board meeting Monday night.

Photo by Brian Ray

Bob Riley takes a walk with his dog, Madison, along the Spring Creek trail in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon. An off-leash trial program proposed by the Responsible Dog Ownership Group of Steamboat moved closer to fruition during a Steamboat Springs School Board meeting Monday night.

Off-leash dog park trial nears fruition

School Board to allow dogs to romp at Whistler Park

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At a glance

Proposed locations and times for trial off-leash dog recreation program

- Spring Creek Park, noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays

- Rita Valentine Park, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays

- Whistler Park, 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays and 9 to 11 a.m. Thursdays

— A trial program to allow dogs to romp off leash during specific times in some city parks moved one step closer to fruition during a Steamboat Springs School Board meeting Monday night.

The school district owns part of Whistler Park, one of three city parks included in a plan that would create two- and three-hour windows of leash-free exercise two days a week.

Springs Creek Park and Rita Valentine Park also are proposed locations for the one-year trial program.

The School Board directed Superintendent Sandra Smyser to develop a memorandum of agreement among the school district, the city and the Responsible Dog Ownership Group of Steamboat, which is proposing the program.

Chris Wilson, the city's director of parks and recreation, said the city and school district own adjacent parcels of land that comprise the park. RDOGS hopes to use some of the land owned by the school district, not the city.

Wilson stressed that the trial program has not begun.

"Steps need to be done," he said. "There needs to be a city manager rule done, the memorandum of agreement needs to be signed by the School Board. An official kick-off day by the RDOGS people needs to happen, and an official notice must be given to the public."

Wilson added that perimeter boundaries, signs, waste bags and cans also must be set up in designated areas in the three parks.

After Smyser establishes a memorandum for the three entities, she must present the agreement to the School Board for a approval Nov. 26. Board members voiced support of the plan Monday night, but some questioned who would be responsible if an animal hurt a child.

RDOGS member Frank Cefaratti said off-leash dogs must be responsive to voice commands. Owners with unruly or disobedient dogs could be subject to citations from a patrolling officer.

Cefaratti said he hopes to open the Spring Creek and Rita Valentine parks to dogs Nov. 16, with Whistler Park opening after the School Board finalizes the agreement.

"This is something the community has asked for with the ultimate goal of having a dog park," he said. "It's an all-volunteer effort for our doggies."

To volunteer with RDOGS, call Cefaratti at (970) 846-8048.

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

colobob 6 years, 12 months ago

This is a tuff one because both sides have valid points. As an owner, handler, and trainer of sporting dogs for close to forty years I can tell you that my dog(s) are very well trained. They respond to hand, whistle, and voice control and I can stop them on a dime with a stern whoa command. They are also social animals and not ill tempered in any way, unless of course you try and get inside my house uninvited. They're great with people both young and old and have been exposed to as many different types of situations as I could possibly find. They don't worry livestock or fight unless jumped and know the boundries of my property to the twing and NEVER EVER leave the yard unless accompanied by me. You can walk down the street WITH your dog and they will go only as far as the property line yet I never leave them unattended which brings me to my point.............TRAINING & RESPONSIBILITY! The single most responsible thing a dog owner can do is enroll their animals in OBEDIENCE CLASSES. The cost of classes are relatively inexpensive (usually between $70 and $100) for a 7 week course 1 day a wk. and usually 2 hrs. in duration. When you consider the end result it is money well spent. The instuctor will teach YOU how to handle your dog while putting the dogs through the paces as a group. Since YOU control the dog under the guidance of the instructor your dog learns to listen to YOU and only YOU One of the main advantages of the class is that your dog learns to deal with the distractions of the other handlers and dogs while YOU maintain complete control. I keep stressing YOU because you are the one responsible for making your dog obey your commands. Having done the classes so many times myself I could do this in my sleep blindfolded. Yet every time I start another dog I do the classes, the reason is all of the distraction caused the other dogs and handlers and the controlled enviorment. Trust me when I tell you that you will never get more bang for your $buck$! Because I hunt my animals I have trained them to a higher level than is necessary for most owners. You don't need to go to such lengths to have a well behaved pooch. Now comes responsibility. As previously stated training is a major portion of the job. Along with the training comes some basic but necessary tasks not the least of which is picking up after your dog. We all know how disgusting it is to step in a pile of stuff because some "moron" didn't pick up after his or her animal. Aside from the obvious reason, dog feces can harbor parasites in the form of worms. Your pet only needs to come in contact with a number that has not been properly disposed of and WHAMO now you risk having a dog with worms. This is inexcuseable, especially since picking it up requires so little effort. I can see some of the faces being made by some pet owners already but the "how" is really quite simple and after you've done it a few times not that objectionable. Here's how I do it. -Continued later-

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corduroy 6 years, 12 months ago

I think it would be best to still just have a dog only park for something like this. Trying to constrain things over time just isn't going to work. If its such a bad idea how come Denver has so many successful dog parks?

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1234 6 years, 12 months ago

my bad, maybe i should have done more research, before i said anything . all i know is when most dog owners say they have controll , they DON'T , i have a lost pet because of that. now if something goes wrong , who will pay and how much will they pay? all it takes is one wrong thing to happen and this idea could be a bad one. ( a pet , an adult , A CHILD !!!)

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Brian Watterson 6 years, 12 months ago

From what I've seen at our local parks and trails, over 90% of the dogs are already off-leash, by owners that blatantly disobey the law. Has anyone seen any real active enforcement of existing leash laws ? I sure haven't. Without enforcement in place, why bother ?

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agentofchange 6 years, 12 months ago

They are all "off the leash". This is just the first step to allowing dogs and the owners to run free. Who is going to clean up the crap? Gosh, I just can't wait to walk barefoot in the grass (I'll have to wait till spring) in one of these parks. We have so much open space... why ,I ask why. Put your pooch in the car and drive... oh no, you just increased your dog carbon pawprint. Pay up! Isn't being responsible a bitch?!?

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 12 months ago

agent.... what do you mean telling them to pay up! Who ends up paying? I still think the taxpayers should be asked to build them a $34 million doggie rec center (for the bad weather days), some hunting dogs would love a swimming pool and the responsible owners wouldn't have to worry about skin cancer from the sun while playing fetch. Ahhh, but I guess it's easier to take away what the taxpayers have already paid for (a park for humans) than it is to raise taxes to support a center for a few elite dogs.

bwatterson... that's a major problem all over the USA, pick and choose what law to enforce. Guess it makes people feel like an issue was addressed if a law gets passed but they don't give a darn if it's enforced or not. Feel good politics.

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corduroy 6 years, 12 months ago

from the dog parks I've visited, you bring your own water dish AND you pick up your dogs poop. Everyone does it, and everyone's happy. how freakin hard is it to bend over and just pick it up?

/picks up everyone else's for them when I have a baggie /all that poop washes into our rivers when it rains.. you want to swim in that? I don't

yes, I'll agree that some people really don't have control of their dogs. Some of us do, and our dogs deserve to be able to run about and "be dogs"

bwatterson: I've been stopped by an officer on the core trail with leash in hand and dog at my side and told I had to have her on a leash, they do enforce it, what I really wish they'd enforce is all the idiots riding BIKES on the sidewalks of Lincoln, I'm going to start clotheslining people with the leash!

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Brian Watterson 6 years, 12 months ago

JQ: I'm sure it's a problem all over, but for some reason it seems worse in Steamboat, where there are as many dogs as people. Some people even bring their dogs to work with them. Love going into a store and having my crotch sniffed. Agreed about the feel good politics.

courduroy: I live along Butcher Knife trail, and leash-free roaming dogs are rampant. I've had them come up on my deck, constantly poop in our yard, and start barking at us in a threating manner while we're on our property. All while the oblivious owner jogs or rides on. Guess I can't count on these owner's taking responsibility for their pets, so I'll just take pictures and start calling the authorities. By the way - I own two dogs, use the trails frequently and obey the laws.

Couldn't agree more with you on the bikes !

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corduroy 6 years, 12 months ago

its too bad there are so many people who just won't pick up after their pets. I wonder how well they take care of picking up after themselves, or children? It's really sad to still see people throwing butts and other garbage out the car window. Why don't people realize the huge impact they have on the environment!

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1234 6 years, 12 months ago

IT IS NOT ABOUT YOUR DOGS SH--!!! it is about the SAFETY of our pets and CHILDREN, geez o whiz when are you dipsss going to figure that OUT???

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1234 6 years, 12 months ago

so if your dog happens to show up at my dogs pourch, with out my permission,and my dog is on a leash, i assume i have the right to protect my pets and children at any cost!!! and i mean any COST!!!

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mud 6 years, 12 months ago

If I were so horrified of off leash dogs in a dog park, I would uhhh... not go to the dog park. some dipsss can't figure that out. geez oh wiz.

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1234 6 years, 11 months ago

mud, these are public places, yes? then i should be able to go and feel safe!!!

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