C’dale eyes more bite in its dog laws | AspenTimes.com

C’dale eyes more bite in its dog laws

Gregory Conroy
Carbondale correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” An emotionally charged group of Carbondale citizens showed up at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting to address an ongoing concern over what they believe to be a lack of adequate dog-control ordinances in the town.

Trustee Ed Cortez sympathized with the affected citizens, and asked his fellow trustees to restructure the town’s dog ordinance as it relates to vicious, even “murderous” dogs.

Numerous residents who were on hand at the meeting expressed deep concern over two pit bulls in particular who were seen “on the warpath,” and who had gone into a man’s yard and violently attacked a Jack Russell terrier belonging to the man and his family.

“I can’t believe the town doesn’t have something in place for this … like an animal control officer or something, this is getting ridiculous,” said Sopris Avenue resident Ben Boatwright.

Joan Cheney, who also lives on Sopris, expressed her disappointment with the trustees, with the exception of Cortez, for not responding to any of her prior e-mails regarding the matter. Since then there have been several more vicious dog run-ins, she said.

“I think that the Town Council is aware that these dogs are here, and now it is up to you to do something about it. The town has a serious problem,” Cheney said of the two pit bulls in question.

Patricia Crockett, who lives on Perry Ridge in River Valley Ranch, attempted to address the council members but was unable to speak as she choked up with tears. In referring to a vicious dog attack from a German shepherd, she said, “I’m traumatized, and I love dogs. I’ve had them since I was a baby, but now I’m afraid to walk down the street,” she said.

Town Attorney Mark Hamilton did his part to try to appease the group, noting the town has responded to the issue. A new ordinance regarding dog regulations was recently drafted, he said.

Trustee Russ Criswell suggested Carbondale could do well to emulate other cities, specifically citing dog concerns in Juneau, Alaska, that were resolved by making first-, second-, and third-time offenses significantly more strict.

Trustee Scott Chaplin agreed with Criswell and went one step further, saying that he thinks a “one strike and you’re out” sort of policy for vicious dogs should be part of the new ordinance.

Chaplin then made an impromptu motion to ban pit bulls in Carbondale, but his suggestion failed to earn support.

“We want to keep the language as simple as possible,” Cortez said in regard to the new ordinance. “But it’s going to take a while to get there. To ban something like that is very controversial.”

Added a voice from the crowd, “The problem is not with a breed of dog. If you ban pit bulls you may be banning some of the most delightful animals on earth. The problem is with the behavior and how you raise your dog. This is what needs to be in the ordinance.”

Mayor Michael Hassig agreed. “We need to put in our ordinance that failure to discipline a dog has consequences,” he said.

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