Munro: Grand County goes to the dogs
July 15, 2015
Grand County must be the locus of a quantum leap in canine evolution: Dogs here don't make noise when they bark all day and night. They're all friendly and non-threatening when they run loose, even in packs. And, among other amazing attributes, their poop doesn't stink.
Or so one might think listening to dog owners. There is a simpler, more elegant explanation, of course; namely, too many dog owners here are oblivious to the obnoxious, dangerous, disgusting, illegal things their canine companions are up to when they're out of sight.
Several people contacted me after brief mention in my column last week about a free-roaming dog at a concert accosting other dogs and then peeing on the owner of those dogs, which were restrained on leashes.
I can't imagine it, but apparently the owner of the offending pooch was unperturbed about his dog's behavior and displayed a complete lack of contrition.
No biggie, right? It'll wash out. I like dogs as much as anyone, but had that dog lifted its leg on me, it might be missing a body part or two.
Of course, it's really not fair to blame the dog. Not usually, anyway. No doubt you've heard the suggestion about dog owners beginning to resemble their dogs over time. In this case, sounds like that dog may have spent a bit too much time around its owner.
Anyway, the common thread of the comments I've received is that too many dogs run at large here, wreaking havoc on the peace of mind and safety of others.
"This dog problem in Grand County is pretty significant," said one woman who has lived here for nearly 40 years. "The atmosphere has changed."
She said her dog, which is highly trained, has been attacked by marauding dogs three times, and it's getting worse with the influx of new residents and second-home owners.
"I, too, am so tired of seeing so many stray dogs in this county that I am embarrassed to say that I reside in, and look forward to the day, we relocate back to Denver," wrote another woman.
"We have lived in Grand County for years and I regret it, and I have never had so many dogs chasing me and my dogs when we try to enjoy a nice walk on our road," she added. "I pray someone in this county implements stringent rules; fines etc. … including leash laws in Grand County. I've been chased here in this county by more dogs than I ever had in Jefferson County …"
Others have told me of seeing packs of dogs running loose at night. I personally have witnessed dogs chasing wildlife and have been accosted while walking, hiking or riding my bike too many times to count.
I find being challenged by a rogue dog especially annoying when out hiking or biking. I'm usually trying to bask in the zen-like rhythm of the moment. To be jarred from my moving mediation by the approach of a slobbering, hackles-raised, growling and barking hellhound tempts me to respond harshly, and I have unleashed a barrage of invective on some owners under those circumstances.
If the owner seems more cavalier about it than usual, I'll tell them, "If your dog bites me, I'm going own your house." That usually gets enough of their attention for them to get their dog's attention.
But it shouldn't come that. If people were civil enough not to inflict their pets on others, we wouldn't need leash laws, and I wouldn't be contemplating carrying a water pistol filled with ammonia when I ride my bike.
Then there's the law so many dog owners blithely ignore: It's illegal to let your dog out of your sight and control outside the confines of your property in Grand County. It's also boorish, inconsiderate and potentially costly.
While we're at, do dog owners really need a reminder to clean up after pets? Few things put a damper on a romp in the park like having to scrape dog poo off one's footwear.
Get control of your dogs, Grand County.
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