Salida Dog Club’s mission statement is “to provide safe, recreational and educational activities for dogs and their owners in Chaffee County.” The club is an advocate for dog owners who want to enjoy and incorporate their dog into everyday life.
Flashback to 1901, a year before Loyal Duke died. Duke was a historical spaniel that was loved by the community then, and now is known for his gravesite that sits on Tenderfoot Mountain.
The small railroad town of Salida had been founded only about 20 years prior. History has it that Duke had been brought to town by a Rio Grande Western railroad worker. When the worker lost his life in an accident, Duke hung around the hotel called Monte Cristo. He soon became fast friends with the manager of the hotel and became their unofficial greeter.
Duke spent his days at the hotel, the train depot and often riding baggage carts between the two places. Needless to say, Duke was probably not leashed, and his poop might never have been picked up in this rural environment.
Fast forward to 2016. The town of Salida has grown and been developed. Unfortunately, some of the dog owners in Salida had not acted responsibly with their dogs and, consequently, all dog owners had to abide by Salida Municipal Code and the ordinances that were created to control issues from possibly occurring.
Municipal Code 11-5-70(a)(1) says, “It is unlawful for any person who owns, harbors, or keeps a dog to permit that dog to enter any city park, except areas specifically identified as ‘dogs permitted’ or by motion of the City Council for special events.” Fine for dogs in the park, in 2016, was $25 plus $35 for court costs, for a total of $60.
Code of Ordinances Chapter 7 (Health, Sanitation &Animals, Section 7-5-250(b) (Restraint & Confinement Generally) says, “Any dog, while on a street, sidewalk, public way, in any park, public square or other public space, or upon any private property without the consent of the owner, shall be secured by a leash or chain of sufficient tensile strength to restrain the particular dog.” Fines for dogs off leash, in 2016, were $70 for the first offense, $85 for the second offense, $135 for the third offense, and all further offenses were $335.
Fast forward more to today, 2023. Dogs have evolved to become an even more important member of their household and are frequently included in family vacations, picnics, etc. Salida Dog Club is working closely with the city to change the current municipal code to start allowing dogs to enter more of the city parks than the dog park.
First though, the city needs to feel comfortable that the community, both residents and visitors, have become appropriately responsible for current times. Unlike back in 1901, it is now acknowledged the importance that dogs always remain leashed, except when on the owner’s property (or the dog park) and that we always pick up our dog’s poop.
Laura Pintane is a local dog trainer and a member of Salida Dog Club.
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