Leash laws must be enforced | AspenTimes.com

Leash laws must be enforced

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:Leash laws, selective enforcement doesn’t work.Almost two years to the day after an unleashed pit bull in Carbondale mauled and killed our cat, an unleashed pit bull mauls and kills a cat in Aspen.To my knowledge Aspen is the last community in this valley to practice what may be termed as “selective” enforcement of leash laws. One might guess as to why this is but my guess is that police feel that a “dog friendly” town is a happy town.In point of fact, enforcement of nuisance laws such as leash laws tends to make for better relations among members of that community. Nuisance laws are, after all, also know as “good neighbor” laws.I would further point out that the vast majority of dog-related organizations, publications and owner groups clearly state the importance of leashes every time a dog is off its own property, no matter how well a dog may be trained. The exceptions being dog parks, competitive events, hunting or herding and guarding livestock.Not even all dog trainers understand that the purpose of obedience training is to provide good manners while on leash. Obedience training is not for the purpose of doing away with leashes.City of Aspen management as well as the police are misinformed if for any reason they believe that selective enforcement of leash laws is good for the community or good for dogs. All evidence and professional opinion points to the contrary.As long as Aspen police overlook unleashed dogs, it makes the enforcement efforts of downvalley departments such as Carbondale that much more difficult. One hopes that the death of a cat is sufficient to trigger greater enforcement efforts, and that it won’t take the mauling of a child. Leash laws are a community safety issue.As far as the event involved a local animal shelter, if animal shelters are going to allow “dangerous breeds” to be adopted, then these shelters need to take measures to explain to prospective owners the dangers associated with these dogs. Most particularly the greater propensity of some breeds to go into a “Red Zone,” a situation where a dog attacks uncontrollably and cannot be called off.Animal shelters should further make it clear that these animals are capable of causing greater harm than other breeds and further that these breeds cause statistically more injuries than other breeds. Animal shelters should not outweigh finding a home for a dog against the potential harm that a dog in the hands of the wrong owner can cause.May the death of Kathy Rogo’s cat serve as a lesson and training tool for dog rescuers and as a message to Aspen law enforcement that a dog-friendly town does not mean a leash-free town.Marco DiazRedstone

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