J. Michael Turner: Support leash laws


To quote from the April 19 Steamboat Pilot & Today, "Councilman John Quinn said at Tuesday's council meeting that he thinks it is ridiculous for the community service officers to spend their time harassing pet owners." Quinn said he was offended by an officer who recently told him he could swim his dog as long as he had it on a leash. As a citizen, resident and taxpayer in this city, I'm offended by such a childish, selfish and irresponsible statement by an elected official in a position of leadership.

There appears to be a segment of dog owners in our community who think that we have leash laws solely for the purpose of harassing them and giving our underworked law enforcement personnel something to do when they are bored. The reality is that every other community in the country has leash laws. They are not unique to Steamboat Springs.

Leash laws are not in place to harass dog owners. They are in place to protect the majority of people who don't own dogs, might be afraid of dogs, are allergic to dogs, don't want to have a dog run up and jump on them and don't particularly like stepping in piles of poop. A leash-free dog park is great idea, do it. But be aware that those who disregard the laws outside of those areas are violating laws on the books to protect a majority of our citizens, not to harass those who think they are exempt because their dogs are special and everyone else in town should think they are special.

If leash-free areas are established, enforcement of leash law violations outside of those areas should, if anything, be increased and vigilantly enforced. Especially in the Fetcher Pond area where a vast number of dog owners in town seem to assume the leash law does not apply to them.

Councilman Quinn also made the absurd statement that "there is no reasonable place to exercise your dog" under current city regulations. How about everywhere in the city where you can walk, jog or run with your dog? If you are not capable of doing that with your dog on a leash, then maybe you should have been a more responsible person before you accepted the privilege of becoming a dog owner. I was a dog owner for more than 30 years, and I had no problem walking my dogs on leashes whenever appropriate or required by law. When I felt they needed to run free, I found plenty of opportunity in the thousands of acres of forest land outside of the city limits. It wasn't complicated or an inconvenience.

As a citizen, taxpayer and voter, I'm insulted by statements such as "it's ridiculous for community service officers to spend their time harassing pet owners." It shouldn't be news to you, Councilman Quinn, that enforcement of the law is a primary job of those officers, and it's an insult to them and other citizens of this community to accuse them of harassment because they are doing the job they were hired to do.

To council as a group, please consider the welfare of the community as a whole, not just a vocal few who think it's their right to let their dogs run amok when debating this leash law issue.

To Councilman Quinn, please live up to your responsibilities as an elected official and person in position of leadership by at least obeying the laws of this town and not demeaning and insulting those who are hired to enforce them.

J. Michael Turner

Steamboat Springs


1999 8 years ago

I agree.

I really can't believe Quinn thnks he is above the law but the law.

the leash law been in effect for quite some time...perhaps quinn should have thought of that BEFORE he got a dog.

the shelter is full of dogs that turned out to be inconvenient after irresponsible people realised owning a pet is a big responibility.


max huppert 8 years ago

it seemd so long ago when i could inner tube down the river with chania swiming along side,, nobody cared then.. now everyone cared about what everyone else is doing,, the fisherman dont want the tubers, the tourists make to much noise and everyone at the c hole is getting tickets for something or another. Oh how we have turned into a true urban city. But your right about way to many people own dogs that should not.


1999 7 years, 12 months ago

justsome.....no the exact opposite.

I AM NOT for the city spending money for a dog park.

and when i said where is he coming from I meant Quinn.

it's a silly and somewhat narcissitic propossal at this time.


1999 8 years ago

edwards has an excellent dog park.

but land costs money.

i really really want a bike path that goes from craig to oak creek.


1999 8 years ago

What I think is completely ridiculous is a discussion of an off-leash dog park while we are furloughing city workers.

seriously...where is he coming from????


StarTrek_Shakespeare 8 years ago

the facade of steamboat is a picture of shiny happy people with dogs and great abs. There is this notion that everybody here wakes up and eats gluten free granola with organic soy milk, does yoga, and takes their dog Lakota down to the river to run free. And while arguably many a person in this town is a middle-class hippie/ yuppie with sports on the brain and dogs in their hearts, there is also a very diverse community in steamboat proper and in surrounding towns. There are people who have never skied and there are people who hate dogs. Not only that, there are parts of Steamboat where it is honestly not safe for the dog to be without a leash. Thinking about leashless dogs running along the Spring Creek Trail fills me with the dreadful imagery of a mountain biker colliding with Fido. Or, as one dog owner learned the hard way, there's always the risk of a Great Pyrene making lunch meat from your Labrador. And any dog off-leash downtown is at risk of getting hit by a Lincoln Navigator or a Cadillac Escalade. Sadly the town has grown too large to get away with not following leash laws. Still, I don't see the harm in letting a well-trained dog run off-leash on remote trails in the area. I think there's room to look the other way.


JustSomeJoe 8 years ago

Take your dog to a national forest if you want to play off leash. We are almost surrounded by sparsley monitored state and federal land where you can do what you want with your dog. While you are in city limits, leash your dog or get cited. I leash my big dog, as I realize maybe everyone doesn't realize he's a big goof as he sprints towards them. Plus I don't want a ticket.

Hey Councilman Quinn - I'm sure your dog is the best ever! However, I don't want it running up to me right after it gets out of the river. I love the argument that "my dog is friendly" or "my dog listens to me all the time". Tell that to the non dog person who is terrified of your big dog running them down to say hello. The leash law isn't about YOU, it's about the people without dogs who have a right to walk down the core trail without your dog sticking its wet snout up their crack. Perhaps you can introduce a new city law that allows off leash dogs and end this silly discussion.

What I think is completely ridiculous is a discussion of an off-leash dog park while we are furloughing city workers.


Guinevere 8 years ago

A dog park wouldn't have to cost much at all if it were on land the city already owns. And a dog allowed to swim in the river is not going to be bothering people walking down the core trail. This letter from Turner goes way overboard. What Quinn said was only what lots of people have said and thought - but we've already been through all this on the first article.


JustSomeJoe 8 years ago

1999 - so you favor spending city money on amenities for dog-owners while most city workers are taking a 20% pay cut? That's where I'm coming from.

Guinevere - A dog swimming in the river always stays in the river? It doesn't leave the river to run up to other dogs being walked or other people using the trail?

So let's not enforce the leash laws. What law is next to not enforce?


JustSomeJoe 7 years, 12 months ago

Sorry 1999 - i got confused when you quoted my post. I assumed you were talking about me.


max huppert 7 years, 12 months ago

chania loves to swim,, and she is awsome in the rapids,, and can get the biggest logs..


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