Denver Direct: Dogs on the Loose

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dogs on the Loose

I was wondering what had happened to all of the talk about “off-leash” dog fight, er, dog play areas when I got this:

This update was received by some and not by others. Apologies if you received it before. It appears Denver Parks & Rec is intent on charging for Dog Parks and has done nothing to integrate Animal Control into their redundant dog tag/fee plan.

Here’s a snip from the Master Plan (the whole thing here)

– Fees: For Denver residents, a $25 annual user fee and coinciding color-coded dog tag will be required for entry into all Denver dog parks. This annual fee is for one dog. Additional dogs under one owner may be eligible for a discounted annual user fee for each additional dog. Non-Denver residents will be required to pay a $40 annual user fee for use of all Denver dog parks. Volunteer efforts in helping maintain dog park facilities and helping with educational outreach will be recognized through a discounted fee program. Fees will cover costs for additional enforcement in Denver parks, will go toward matching funds for building new facilities, and will provide a more sustainable revenue stream for maintenance.

– Fines: To stress the education and requirement of licensure, vaccination, and payment of the annual user fee for access to Denver dog parks, fines for falsification of any of these requirements is being recommended.

– Owner Responsibility: In order for dog owners and dog park users to have a full understanding of the rules and regulations and requirements for use of Denver’s dog park facilities, owners will be required to review and sign off on educational materials clarifying these elements at the time of purchase of the annual dog park user fee.

I’ve owned many dogs over the years but I’ve got a lot of misgivings about this whole idea. Some of my dogs would not have been good candidates for an off-leash park as they would have wanted to dominate all the other dogs.

Once when I was walking my dog on-leash in City Park, an un-leashed German Shepard came running up with a panicked ownergirl running way behind, wailing out her dog’s name. Did I mention that my dog was a 135-pound Great Dane? In one swift move she grabbed the Shepard by the throat and flipped him over on his back. I’m not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t pulled her off.

I’m sure that all of the visitors to the off-leash parks will have their dogs under strict voice control, so it doesn’t turn into this: Federal Cop Shoots Dog at a Dog Park.