Rio Grande dog attacks lead to citations |

Rio Grande dog attacks lead to citations

PITKIN COUNTY ” The handlers of two dogs that attacked cross-country skiers in separate incidents on the Rio Grande Trail on Saturday face citations.

Pitkin County animal safety director Re Re Baker said she wrote tickets Monday for “keeping a vicious dog prohibited” and “dog running at large” in one incident and will issue the same citations for the second incident.

In one incident, a skier attacked from behind was bitten on the buttocks by a German shepherd named Drey. In the other case, a pit bull named Marti ran at a skier and bit his pole in two.

Baker said neither dog had a record with her office for previous aggressive behavior.

Drey dashed off the Meanwhile Ranch at 1651 Lower River Road and bit Eric Altenbernd as he skied by. Altenbernd was not seriously injured and declined medical treatment. Baker said the dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Drey has since been quarantined at his owner’s ranch to make sure he doesn’t have rabies.

The caretaker of the property was served with the tickets Monday because the owner is out of town, Baker said. The caretaker was warming up her car for a trip to the market when she let the dog out of the house, according to Baker. The caretaker was unaware that the dog had roamed down to the trail and attacked someone.

“When she found out she was mortified,” Baker said.

The owner also was upset and had an animal behaviorist from Denver examine Drey, according to Baker, who is awaiting a report. She didn’t release the dog owner’s name because she hasn’t been served yet.

Baker said there is a caretaker’s cabin and a main house in the Meanwhile Ranch. The cabin has a kennel. The owners will build a secure area in the back yard of the main house in the spring.

Baker is requiring that the dog be on a leash when moved between the cabin and house. She said she doesn’t believe Drey will pose a threat to people using the public trail near the property again.

“No, not the way I’ve laid out the ground rules,” she said.

Baker said she investigated the second incident Tuesday and will issue tickets to a caretaker. Marti and a companion dog were let out Saturday afternoon for exercise. The caretaker didn’t realize Marti attacked a passing skier. Michael Thompson said he used one pole to fend off the attack, and he used his other pole to whack the dog in the butt and send it away.

The caretaker agreed to buy Thompson new poles, according to Baker. She said she required Marti to be kept inside and let outside in a fenced pen, or out of the pen only when the owner is present.

In addition to the tickets for vicious dog and running at-large, the property owners face tickets for dogs off leash on the Rio Grande Trail, according to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails ranger John Armstrong. The open space program manages the trail.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User