Eagle will re-evaluate dog leash rules in 2015
If history is any indicator, the Eagle Town Board could be reopening a contentious debate in 2015 by re-examining the community’s dog leash law.
During a December meeting, members of the town board said they want to bring up the town’s current leash law for debate in the new year. The issue was initiated when some residents of the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments urged the town to take a stronger leash law enforcement stance.
Currently, Eagle’s animal control law requires dogs be both leashed and under voice control. During the annual review of the town’s animal control contract with Eagle County, the senior residents supported continuation of the contract and a crackdown on violators.
“We have had several tragedies in the last six weeks,” said resident Judy Williamson. “In the past six weeks we have had four of our little dogs attacked.”
Williamson noted that Golden Eagle residents are allowed to have dogs and that for the most part, residents comply with Eagle’s leash law. However, other town residents often walk dogs nearby, and some of those unleashed canines have attacked the seniors’ leashed animals.
“We are at our wit’s end,” said Williamson. “This is very serious.”
Senior apartment resident Barb Whitford noted that her 18-pound Shih Tzu is always on a leash. But when another dog recently attacked her small animal, even the human on the other end of the leash was endangered.
“The woman who was walking him for me was knocked down,” said Whitford. “Where are we going to walk safely? There are dogs every where and it is not funny,” said Whitford. “We can’t run that fast and these dogs seem to think that our dogs are delicious.”
“People can get hurt, but it is not harmful for anyone to hold on to a leash,” said Whitford.
Currently, the county charges $30 for a first offense and $60 for a second offense when people disregard the town’s leash law. The seniors lobbied for heavier fines in addition to stricter enforcement.
“People need to apologize with their wallets,” Williamson said.
“I have no tolerance for dogs that don’t behave. We have a leash law and I absolutely don’t want to change it,” said town board member Anne McKibbin. “Additionally, we also have an off-leash dog park.”
Other members of the board indicated they wanted to take a more comprehensive look at Eagle’s animal control rules and open the issue for discussion and public comment.
After approving the county contract, members said they will schedule an animal control discussion during 2015.
A local attorney said he sees similarities between last week’s chairlift death of a New Jersey man, and a case he won against Vail Resorts 20 years ago.