Purging of pooches raises hackles of shop owners | AspenTimes.com

Purging of pooches raises hackles of shop owners

Naomi HavlenAspen Times Staff Writer

Managers of the Puppy Smith shopping center are tightening leashes on the complex’s own puppies.On Friday morning, a memo was delivered to commercial tenants of the shopping center that includes Clark’s Market and Mail Boxes, Etc. It says that customer complaints and an “increasingly litigious society” prompted the management to request that tenants’ dogs no longer be brought to work.The response from both tenants and customers at the shopping center was immediate, as many shop owners in the area have well-known pooches that are popular with the public. Chip Munday, property manager for the shopping center, said he would look into just mandating that tenants’ dogs be leashed outside, rather than banished altogether.”They’ve sort of become mascots of the building,” Munday said. “We never wanted to ban dogs from this area, we just want to control the ones we can, and we’re asking the tenants to help us out.”One of the more notable dogs at the shopping center is Waldo, a Saint Bernard puppy who greets children and other dogs in the center’s courtyard. Jim Oliver, owner of Waldo and the local branch of Mail Boxes, Etc., said he tries to deal with any customer complaints about his dog to not lose business.”Personally, I think Waldo brings more business down here than Clark’s Market does,” said Tim Boyer, owner of Take 2 Video and Cole, a 9-year-old black lab. “If we couldn’t bring our dogs to work I’d have to leave Cole at home. Being able to have her here with me was one of the good things about buying the store.”Next door, Shae Singer, owner of Sashea Floral Arts & Gifts and a golden retriever puppy named Daisy, said she routinely gets foot traffic from local children coming in to visit her dog and Waldo.”The memo said they’d been receiving complaints about the dogs, but they should let us know about that so we can take care of it,” Singer said. “We have huge insurance policies that cover everything, and our dogs are our responsibility.”On Saturday, a facetious “Caution: Potentially Dangerous Creatures” sign went up on the door to Singer’s shop, with nonthreatening photos of Waldo and Daisy.But Munday said since so many shoppers leave their dogs outside while they go into the market, he has taken to putting leashes on some wandering pooches in order to control dogs that come and go.”We’re trying to find a way to control what could be a potentially dangerous situation,” he said. “There are always a lot of dogs that move around freely. Some intimidate kids, and some sit near people having lunch and beg. Most of us are completely comfortable with that, but the way society is today, we have to protect ourselves and our tenants from people with a bias against animals.”