April pet-owner forum open to public | SteamboatToday.com

April pet-owner forum open to public

Residents will have a chance to discuss leash law, environmental impacts

Christine Metz

Pet owners upset about the city’s enforcement of leash laws now have a forum to address their complaints.

The city will hold a community meeting on pet issues April 7.

The community meeting is sponsored by the city’s Public Safety and Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services departments to discuss the leash law, environmental impacts and consideration for others.

“It really gives people a chance to vent and let us know some of their concerns,” said Chris Wilson, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

The meeting is a chance for dog owners to talk about the leash laws, the possibility of designating trails as off-leash areas and building a dog park. The group could discuss what other communities have done, Wilson said, and how those options have worked.

“They are really just another recreation group out there,” Wilson said. “How do we intersperse that with the users already there?”

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Wilson said he plans to encourage residents to adopt portions of trails or parks to monitor and clean.

In the past two years, the possibility of creating a city dog park has come up twice — during the city’s discussion on what to do with the Bear River Parcel –where three sewage lagoons sit west of town — and during a meeting looking at options for open land the city owns next to the Stock Bridge Transit Center.

Since the issue surfaced, councilwomen Susan Dellinger and Kathy Connell said they support the leash laws but also recommend the city seek alternatives that would allow dogs to be off their leashes safely.

Spurred by complaints from residents about the dog waste on Spring Creek Trail, law enforcement officers began to patrol the area. The city requires dogs to be on 6-foot leashes in all city parks and on city trails.

The officers first handed out warnings and then started ticketing those who violated the leash laws.

Before the city began issuing tickets about two weeks ago, police had issued more than 30 warnings on Spring Creek Trail and the Yampa River Core Trail.

A ticket for a dog off its leash, or a dog at large, is $50 for the first violation, $75 for a second violation and $100 for the third offense.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com