Fraser hires dog catcher to rein in strays | SkyHiNews.com
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Fraser hires dog catcher to rein in strays

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News
Marilyn Teverbaugh and her 6-year-old dog, Izzy, a Great Pyrannese (please refer to story for spelling) at their home in Fraser.
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Fraser felines: Rejoice!

The town of Fraser has found a dog catcher.

Marilyn Teverbaugh, a 35-year resident of Fraser, was recently hired on as Fraser’s new dog catcher. She is currently undergoing a training and development program that will have her patrolling by the beginning of 2008.

The decision to hire a dog catcher came about this summer when the board of trustees contemplated enforcing a mandatory leash law. The board voted against it, but the debate highlighted the growing concern by residents about dogs roaming the neighborhoods unattended.

Vesta Shapiro, a trustee member, was one of the two trustees who voted for the leash law. Since she moved to Fraser in 1986, the “dog issue” has gotten worse, she said.

She realizes there is a group of responsible dog owners out there, but there’s a percentage that “can’t be bothered.” She often finds herself vexed by unattended dogs when she walks around her neighborhood.

“Everybody wants a dog but not everyone wants to take care of them,” Shapiro said.

“Some want to jump all over me, some are aggressive. I (ask the owner to) call their dog and they don’t move.”

The complaint is all-too-common in Fraser, where many dog-lovers enjoy the freedom that mountain living provides for their pets. By hiring a dog catcher, the town felt it would help relieve some of the growing concerns by residents who are feeling, well, hounded.

“I think this is a big step forward. We’ve been talking about the issues for a while, and this will help us address a lot of those concerns out there,” said Town Manager Jeff Durbin.

Teverbaugh lives two blocks away from Town Hall, so she understands what the current concerns are, she said. Her dog, a Great Pyrenees, has been attacked by unattended dogs on walks through the neighborhood. She is looking forward to being part of the solution.

“It’s not a problem all the time, but I think Fraser really does need some patrol ” some visual reminders to take care of their dogs,” Teverbaugh said. “It’ll (help) remind people.”

Durbin said Teverbaugh’s first step as a dog catcher will be to build relationships with residents and dog owners. The position requires playing a multi-faceted role because of the importance of good communication skills and working with people, he added. Plus, the town has never had an animal control program, so it’s moving into new territory.

“The fact that we moved into this program says a lot about the town’s commitment in addressing animal control issues that have been plaguing this community for a while,” Durbin said. “Still, a culture change like this will take time. There’s always opposition to change . . . but I’m confident (Marilyn) will do well.

“I think she gets there’s two different sides to this issue and we all need to work together to make this a better community.”

Teverbaugh will work roughly 20 hours a week, but the details of her position are still being hashed out. While Fraser does not have a mandatory leash law, dogs need to be under audible control at all times. Many residents, however, feel that dogs roam free in town with no owner in sight. The town hopes that a dog catcher will help enforce the current ordinance, as well as raise public awareness.

“I think it’s just wonderful and a huge step in the right direction,” Shapiro said. She hopes the position will help raise awareness and improve the response to dog at large and aggressive dog calls, she said.

“And maybe after a few expensive tickets, people might figure out it might be better to be responsible about their dogs.”

” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.


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