Truscott won’t go to the dogs | AspenTimes.com
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Truscott won’t go to the dogs

Janet Urquhart

It appears Truscott Place won’t go to the dogs after all.After surveying the residents in three buildings at the affordable housing complex next to the city’s golf course, housing officials have recommended a trial pet policy that allows renters there to own cats, but not dogs.The Aspen City Council, scheduled to review the proposed pet policy at Truscott tonight, directed housing staffers last month to come up with a plan to experiment with pet ownership at the complex. Government-owned rental housing typically doesn’t allow pets, but some council members expressed a willingness to give dogs and cats a try at Truscott. A survey of Truscott residents, however, indicated mixed feelings about the idea, and a number of comments on the survey were critical of allowing dog ownership.The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority surveyed the residents of 108 units at Truscott, but only 27 completed surveys were returned, according to Bill Tuite, property management supervisor for the housing office.Of those, 11 indicated they reside in one of the three buildings selected for the pet experiment and nine of them said they’d like to own a pet. Three others said they’d like to move into one of the pet-friendly buildings.Steve Aitken, the city’s director of golf, urged the housing office to allow indoor pets at Truscott and limit their numbers.The housing authority’s proposed policy would allow renters in the 500, 600 and 700 buildings to own one cat, which must be spayed or neutered and have all its required vaccinations. The pet must also be trained to use a litter box.A $300 deposit will be required of pet owners; $50 of it is nonrefundable and liability for damages is not limited to the amount of the deposit, according to the proposal.Among the many provisions of the policy, pets cannot be left unattended for more than 12 hours.In commenting on the pet experiment, some survey respondents complained about the potential for additional mess, noting their neighbors are slobs already.”And when you look around the ground and see all of the garbage and cigarette butts laying around, I seriously doubt people will pick up after their dogs,” wrote one person. “Most people around here are pigs – just look at the laundry room.”One individual urged the housing office to ban certain breeds of dogs, including pit bulls.Others suggested apartments are too cramped for pets, especially dogs, and voiced concerns about noise:”Already loud because of children – pets would be worse.””Cats and dogs do not belong in apartments. They belong in private homes with yards.””The buildings weren’t built with enough sound proofing to accommodate dogs.””Dogs bark too much and poop on the grass.”But a pet advocate wrote: “Most pets are well (if not better) behaved than most kids and since kids are allowed, I say yes to pets.””I’ve often been annoyed and frustrated that smoking is allowed in these units but not pets. Smokers inflict enormous damage upon their living space and I would never move into a unit that had been smoked in,” wrote another.If the pet experiment is suspended after a year, renters who own cats should be allowed to keep them, according to Steve Barwick, city manager.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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