Avon leash law unchanged | VailDaily.com

Avon leash law unchanged

Matt Terrell

AVON – The town council won’t be changing the leash laws anytime soon.Instead, Avon police will focus on using more discretion in enforcing current policies.Councilors decided not to approve a proposed ordinance change that would have allowed dogs to be off leash in the common areas of apartments, condominium developments and subdivisions if held under voice control. Basically, dogs still have to be on leash everywhere you go.Police Chief Brian Kozak, who initially pitched the change, said property owners need the backing of the town ordinance to assure public safety with dog owners around. He said he’s already talked with his force about using better judgment in handing out citations.If an owner is with his dog on common property and nobody else is around, for instance, that probably wouldn’t be a big deal, Kozak said. Officers would also consider the nature of the complaint, the owner’s cooperation, if there’s a history, if they have a leash with them and if other animals are around.Police will also concentrate on enforcing the leash law in parks, public streets and areas near wildlife.Councilors heard a wide range of opinions at a public hearing in January. Town manager Larry Brooks said there wasn’t enough convincing testimony from any one point of view to support changing the town’s law.Kozak asked the council to take a more serious look at developing a special park where dogs could run free with their owners and train off leash. Councilman Brian Sipes also proposed figuring out some way to certify dogs that can effectively be held under voice control and give those owners special privileges. LicensingThe council did approve an ordinance requiring dogs to be licensed in Avon. Previously, Avon was the only town in the valley to not require licensing.Kozak said this will help ensure that dogs are vaccinated and will help identify dogs that become lost.Citizens will have a grace period of four months to comply with the new statute.Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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