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Douglas County, Colorado is inviting all residents of the unincorporated areas of the county to attend a public workshop on Thursday, October 18, to learn more and discuss proposed changes to the county’s animal laws, which include new regulations regarding nuisance/barking dogs and dogs considered “potentially dangerous”.

The details of the public workshop are as follows:

Thursday, October 18, 2018
6:00-7:30 pm
Philp S. Miller Building Hearing Room
100 Third Street
Castle Rock, CO

The workshop will begin with a presentation by county staff, and then it will be opened up for questions from residents.

Residents are also encouraged to submit comments online until Friday, November 2.  This is an excellent opportunity for responsible dog owners to provide valuable and essential feedback on these changes before they are advanced for consideration.

Summary:

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees enforcement of the county animal control laws, has published several proposed changes, as the laws have not been updated in almost 20 years.  The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was clear that these proposed changes will not include the county’s ownership limit laws, which are based on the zoning code.  Proposed changes include the following:

Nuisance/Barking Dog:  Current law prohibits owners from failing to prevent their dog from disturbing the peace due to loud, habitual, or persistent howling/barking/yelping/whining.  The proposed amendments would change this to any pet that disturbs the peace by making any noise audible from an adjacent or nearby property from an adjacent or nearby property for a 10-minute period that is relatively continuous and uninterrupted.  A person is first given a written warning, and any complaints must be made in writing to the sheriff’s office.  Animal control may suggest voluntary dog training if it is believed that will remedy the situation, and also voluntary mediation if it seems the complaints are a result of a dispute.

While there are some defenses, such as a dog being attacked or provoked in an extreme manner, the limited time frame of 10 minutes at any time of day could be extremely difficult to comply with and enforce.

Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Dogs: The proposal creates a new category of “potentially dangerous dog”, which is a dog that causes any injury less than a serious bodily injury to any person or domestic animal at any place in the county, or, without provocation, approaches a person in a “menacing or terrorizing manner or in an apparent attitude of attack.”

If an animal is perceived to act in this manner through either conviction or a plea in County Court, the owner must apply within 5 days for a potentially dangerous animal permit in order to keep the animal in the county.  Owners are only permitted to keep one potentially dangerous animal in the county at any time, and the animal must be kept in a proper enclosure at all times, except for exercise or veterinary care.  At those times, the animal must be muzzled and be kept on a leash no more than 6 feet long.

The AKC appreciates that these regulations are not breed-specific and that the designation may be removed after 24 months of no further potentially dangerous or dangerous actions.  However, the broad definition, including that of “any injury” could include dogs that are not truly potentially dangerous and AKC believes this section should be clarified.

AKC and the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs are closely monitoring the actions of the county and will be communicating with them.  If you attend the hearing or provide feedback, please let us know by contacting AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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