County dog registration fees to increase

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Dog owners in Pitkin County will likely have to dig a bit deeper into their wallets for registration and other fees under a plan preliminarily approved by county commissioners Wednesday.

In addition, owners of canines deemed to be “harassing dogs” could be fined $60 for their animal’s first offense and $100 coupled with a mandatory court appearance for a second offense under the same changes to Pitkin County’s animal control regulations.

ReRe Baker, county animal safety director, told commissioners the added section about harassing dogs was necessary because owners of such animals currently cannot be held accountable for their dogs’ behavior. The influx of people to Pitkin County in the summer has been creating situations where dogs harass other dogs or people but not seriously enough to be charged under the “vicious dog” section of the regulations, Baker said.

The new portion of the regulations defines a harassing dog as “any dog that chases, snaps at or bites a person or another animal, or has demonstrated tendencies that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog may inflict injury upon any person or animal.” The dog does not have to inflict injury on a person or another dog to be charged, according to the new regulations.

Baker said most people with offending dogs receive a warning first before being officially charged, which usually takes care of the problem.

“Most often we don’t hear from them again,” she said.

However, the new regulations allow her the option of issuing a ticket in extreme or repeat offender situations, Baker said.

Dog registration fees will go from $6 to $10 for spayed or neutered animals and from $16 to $20 for “unaltered” animals under the new changes, she said. Also, springing your dog from the county’s impound shelter will now cost $50 instead of $30 and $25 for each additional day the animal is held instead of $10 a day.

That fee schedule is the same as the Aspen Animal Shelter, Baker said.

In the case of impounded cats, the fee will increase from $5 to $50 for the initial impoundment and run cat owners $25 for each additional day the cat is held. Also, cats will now have to be held eight days instead of five days before they can be adopted out or destroyed, according to the new regulations. That matches similar rules for dogs.

The new regulations will become official after the board votes on it a second time June 22.


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