Jennifer Calderazzo: Dog compassion

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I am infuriated by some of the online comments regarding the dog shot in Yampa. To some of the commenters: Have you ever owned an animal? Do you have any compassion? Did your mother not teach you “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? How dare you say that it is just a dog and he will get over it.

My eldest dog helped me through the roughest years of my life after I lost my father. My youngest dog was a therapy dog to his first owner who was dying of brain cancer. Animals are special to their owners — like children — and if they are being attacked, we will defend them. You have no right to judge and make off-hand comments. We are human, and we have feelings even if you don’t think animals do — be sensitive to that.

I also have been battling un-dog-friendly behavior in my backyard, and it is out of control. You do not need to call my property manager or animal control when my dogs are in my front yard, under my supervision, and off leash. You do not need to threaten me when I am in a designated poop area picking up after my dogs as I always do. My dogs have never attacked, bitten or been aggressive to anyone in the community and are under voice command on any occasion that they are off leash.

With that said, my dogs have experienced two incidents (not in Steamboat) where there were aggressive dogs off leash. One morning, I was walking my oldest on leash around my neighborhood. Two pit bulls from across the street come bounding at us and start to attack my dog. Their intoxicated owner started screaming at me that it was my fault while his son apologized while laying on the dogs to contain them. That was a case for animal control. 

The second time, a boxer mix from a nearby house came growling, bearing his teeth and acting aggressive toward both of my dogs. The owner stood at his house and said, “You’ll have to stand still and wait until he calms down because I am afraid to come get him.” That is a case for the property manager or animal control.

One of our Steamboat neighbors decided that rather than dumping the bucket of poop they collected in their yard into the garbage, they would dump it in our community poop area for other dogs to get into. That is rude and irresponsible.

Sadly, there are not-so-responsible dog owners out there. However, it should not make you judge or condone me, or Joshua, for being responsible, loving dog owners. Save your comments and judgments for someone that deserves them, and use animal control for what they are here for, not for frivolous issues.

To Joshua, my deepest sympathy for what happened to your dog and your friend. No one has a right to take away your dog’s life for just being a dog and clearly not putting anyone or anything in danger. This situation should serve as a lesson to all of us that any life is precious.

In closing, I read an article last year talking about how un-dog friendly Steamboat is. I scoffed at the article thinking “no way!” However, after the past few months, I have changed my mind. Sadly, I feel like a prisoner rather than a community member, simply because I adore my animals and their right to a great life in the mountains of Steamboat. 

Jennifer Calderazzo

Steamboat Springs

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