Trial program could offer dogs leash-free time

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The proposal

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

Past Event

Discussion of off-leash trial program for dogs

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 6:30 p.m.
  • Olympian Hall, Howelsen Hill, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— A trial program to allow dogs to romp off leash during specific times in some city parks will be considered tonight by the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The plan would create two- and three-hour windows of leash-free exercise two days a week in three city parks. The proposal has been developed throughout many weeks by the Commission and city staff along with members of the Responsible Dog Ownership Group of Steamboat (RDOGS). The purpose of today's 6:30 p.m. meeting at Olympian Hall is to gather public reaction to the tentative plan.

"This is it. This is finally the time to get the community together and discuss abiding by the rules," RDOGS member Frank Cefaratti said.

The city of Steamboat Springs already has a leash law. The City Council would have to pass a new ordinance if the trial program were to become permanent. Such an ordinance would likely name the areas within city limits that would be "off leash" during specific times.

Cefaratti said the ultimate goal of RDOGS is to establish an off-leash agility park for dogs, perhaps with a pond. The success of the trial off-leash program would be important to reaching that ultimate goal, he said.

"We need the support of pet owners to follow the rules," he said. "We need to get through it with no catastrophes. Our goal is to cut down on the stress of community officers who have to issue warnings to pet owners."

City staff is hopeful that creating specific times and locations for owners to exercise their dogs off leash will reduce the overall impact of pets in parks.

A memo to City Council and approved by Parks and Rec staff notes: "Pet waste not being picked up and disposed of properly is already a problem everywhere. Having designated areas and times for off-leash dogs concentrates pet ownership awareness and responsibility regarding this issue."

The memo goes on to describe circumstances in which pet owners could still be warned or cited during the off-leash periods.

Dogs off leash must be responsive to voice command, Cefaratti said. If not, owners with unruly or disobedient dogs could be subject to citations from a patrolling officer.

City Manager Alan Lanning is expected to work with RDOGS and Parks and Rec staff on subsequent steps necessary to move forward with the trial program.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

steamvent 6 years, 10 months ago

This off-leash park idea is a farce. Does anyone really think this is going to make responsible dog owners out of the people who currently ignore the leash law? How many times do you see the owner of a dog who is doing their daily look around to see if anyone is watching before deciding to pick up the result, with some just arrogantly walking away? I know, too often. Walking the core trail nearly every day, we see numerous owners with their dogs wandering along off leash and under no voice command. Just a few days ago, two young mothers with their two year old toddlers were seriously frightened by a dog that was with another young couple. The dog was not on a leash and ran up to the little kids while the owners were yelling at the dog to "heel" with no result. Concern for lowering the stress on community service officers? What a joke. It's their job ... hello? The people who live in the areas of these designated parks would be subjected to concentrated dog poop, even if it is picked up. Want to let your kids play around that? Dog owners in this town thumb their noses at the current regulation and have not demonstrated responsibility. If RDOGS was serious, they would be out in force putting pressure on their fellow dog owners who just don't get it. Just read the The Record in the paper ... every other entry is for loose dogs. If the city allows this targeted use of public property, then they are taking away use by others.

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RoxyDad 6 years, 10 months ago

I am a huge dog lover.

If my fellow dog owners do not abide by the leash laws then they will cause problems for all of us.

Leash your dog and clean up so we can all enjoy our pets.

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katrinkakelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Leash your dog! Just like people, not all dogs love each other or children, HELLO! This is a total disaster waiting to happen. I have never, ever seen a community offficer give an off leash ticket to a dog owner on the Core Trail. The last officer I contacted lived near us and constantly let her dogs out to run the neighborhood!

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1234 6 years, 10 months ago

the comments above are on the right track! i leash my dogs all the time ,that is the only way to be sure that a wreck will not happen. most dogs that i have seen off of a leash will not obey any voice cammands. if you do not have a way to let your dog run ,with out breaking the law ,then maybe you should get and dog that does not need to run, or maybe not have a dog at all.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 10 months ago

they cann't follow the rules now what on earth thinks that they will..what a joke..lets make their hours between 12 midnite and 4 am that way they are bear bait..sorry for being so harsh but EVERY DAY i am confronted by a dog OFF LEASE for doing my job..its called national forest..and stepping in D.....t is always pleasant..give us a break you just think your special.you want this to work then police yourselves..if this goes threw then triple the fines and enforce them..funny thing is we call them and its OH I CANNT IMAGINE MY DOG DOING THAT..beleive it cause it does happen

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wallygirl 6 years, 10 months ago

What's the point of having dog parks when the leash law isn't even inforced? Who's going to enforce the rules of the park? It's pretty much a free for all anyway.
My dog gets very protective around other dogs and I have to avoid the core trail because of all the unleashed dogs. I hate not being able to enjoy the trail.

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OnTheBusGus 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe it's your "protective" dog and not all the rest.

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1234 6 years, 10 months ago

onthebusgus? sounds like wallygirl is going by the rules and someone isnt !!! so even if wallygirl has a protective dog,and it is on a leash,she is in the right!!!!!!!! so anyone who has a dog off leash , should be HUNG OUT TO DRY !!!!!!

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corduroy 6 years, 10 months ago

this entire argument is why when I take my dog out to do her business I pick up any poop I come across along our way. Leashed or not, the poop is honestly just nasty.

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OnTheBusGus 6 years, 10 months ago

My experience is that when I walk my dog on a leash (which I always do, otherwise my dog would be lost since she is partly blind) I do sometimes encounter others with "protective" dogs who go crazy and lunge at my dog even though she has done nothing to provoke the other dog. I never understood why a person would take a dog like that out into public areas. Most of these people cannot handle their large dogs and it seems like such a liability to have such a dog.
I can't stand the poop everywhere and have spent part of a many a walk with lots of plastic bags picking up poo that was not generated by my dog. I feel that it's a responsible action as a fellow dog owner to help maintain areas so that the non-dog owners won't complain so much.

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