Minturn may modify dog rules |

Minturn may modify dog rules

Dustin Racioppi
Minturn, CO Colorado

MINTURN ” In going over its animal control ordinance last week, the Minturn, Colorado town council realized that the wording of it ” specifically the loose definition of voice control ” makes enforcement difficult for Eagle County animal control officers, and it needs to be updated.

The council is now trying to figure how, and if, clarity is needed before it repeals and re-enacts the ordinance governing people’s control of their dogs.

“We’ve had this ordinance in place for a long time,” Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty said. “It’s not been brought up as a problem before.”

But Police Chief Lorenzo Martinez said it has been a problem enforcing and the wording could become a technical problem in the future. “What individual officers trying to enforce this are saying is our ordinance is hard to enforce,” Martinez told the council.

The problem seems to lie in voice control. As it’s written, the ordinance says an owner must be within 10 feet of a dog and have voice control over it. But as Martinez pointed out, that doesn’t seem to be clear enough. He said somebody could be standing in their kitchen and their animal, usually a dog, could be outside, still 10 feet away and within voice control of the owner.

“They (Eagle County animal control) wanted somebody to be out there with the dog, not supervision by telephone or something,” Martinez said. “Ours was too general.”

Though there hasn’t been any significant problems, like dogs attacking people, that have stemmed from the vagueness of the ordinance, Minturn isn’t the only town in need of overhauling its regulations, Eagle County’s Director of Animal Services Natalie Duck said.

“If you look at any municipality or county ordinance there are things that need to be updated,” Duck said. “The laws just need to be updated basically. We can always improve our definitions and language.”

Duck said each town’s or the county’s ordinance is used by the animal control officers every day when dealing with people and their animal problems, so it’s imperative for the rules to be up to date and easy to understand.

Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter said he and Minturn officials are looking at other towns’ ordinances to possibly combine certain sections or words into the town’s.

And if that doesn’t work and significant problems do arise, Flaherty said the town may have to add more to the ordinance.

“If it does become a problem and chief comes back and says voice control is not working and we need a leash law, we’ll consider that,” he said.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at (970)748-2936 or

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