Eagle officials re-examine leash laws due to incidents | VailDaily.com

Eagle officials re-examine leash laws due to incidents

EAGLE — Eagle loves its dogs, but it wants its canines leashed.

This week the Eagle Town Board conducted a preliminary discussion about the community's animal control rules and the idea of switching over to a "demonstrable voice control" rule for dogs didn't generate support. Not only did members of the town board state their preference for Eagle's current leash law, but the town's new police chief and Eagle County's new animal services director voiced their support for the leash regulation.

Daniel Ettinger, the county's newly hired animal services boss, said that in a community setting, demonstrable voice command is difficult to enforce and can have bad consequences. For instance, he noted that when untethered dogs get into a fight, it is difficult to separate them and there is a high likelihood that someone will get bit.

About Two Attacks

Eagle officials decided to re-examine at its animal control rules after a couple of serious dog incidents during the past year. In one, an older woman in the community was attacked by a dog, suffering severe wounds. In another, a leashed animal was attacked by free-roaming dogs. With those incidents in mind, town board members indicated their support for changes in the town ordinance to toughen up penalties for "potentially dangerous dogs" in addition to keeping the leash law in place.

Off Leash Areas

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However, members also noted they would like to look at specified areas in town where dogs can be off leash. One area, naturally, is the Eagle Dog Park located at Eagle Ranch. During the next few weeks, in conjunction with neighbors of proposed areas, the town will consider expanding off-leash areas in other parts of town.

Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick asked about leash regulations on public lands around Eagle. Ettinger responded that there is also a leash law on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property, and it is particularly important to follow those regulations when taking dogs out on local trails.

"If you have someone on a bike zipping by, it is just going to entice a dog's instinct to chase," he said.

Finally, the board also discussed the prevalence of dogs at community events. Currently, the town's regulations actually prohibit dogs at Eagle Town Park, but that regulation is seldom enforced. Town board members noted an education campaign should be launched to encourage people to leave their dogs at home when they venture out to town events that include food and kids because of the potential for problems.