May 092004
Authors: Erin Tracy

Playing in a park, taking a walk or hanging out in the shade of

a tree may all be fun activities to do with a dog. But no matter

how much fun dogs can be, ownership may have hidden expenses.

The Humane Society for Larimer County issues $50 tickets to

owners when their pet is not on a leash. Multiple offenses may

result in a fine up to $1,000 and three months in jail.

Rigo Neira, the director of Animal Protection and Field Services

at the humane society, said the maximum fine is rare.

Paul Wozniak, 29, a morning show host for the radio station KKPL

(99.9 The Point), received a warning for having his male cocker

spaniel, Emmet, without a leash at City Park last summer, but he

continues to let him run around the park.

“I know he is not going to harm anyone or anything,” Wozniak

said. “He is good under voice command.”

Wozniak understands there is a law for keeping dogs on a leash

and said from his experience most people comply with the rule, but

he said “it is not a good rule for me.”

Everett Bacon, 38, an engineer, is not as understanding about

Fort Collins’ leash rule.

“How can I play Frisbee with her on a leash?” Bacon said. “My

tax dollars pay for these parks.”

Bacon has received two tickets for not having his dogs on

leashes at parks.

“That is why I don’t utilize those places,” Bacon said.

Mike Ashwell, a junior construction management major, said he

likes Spring Canyon Dog Park, located on the west end of Horsetooth

Road, but he still prefers to go to the park near his house for

safety reasons.

“I heard that your dog can get sick up there,” Ashwell said.

“There are so many dogs and pet waste; it is not a clean


Ashwell has never gotten a pet violation ticket because he does

not let his dog off the leash in public.

“I don’t want him to run away,” Ashwell said. “I don’t want a


Fines may also be assessed to an owner if the dog runs into

traffic, bites a person or chases after a person.

Rigo said if a dog runs into the street and is caught by an

animal-control officer, a $100 fine could be issued, depending on

the situation and the individual officer.

Owners may also be fined if their pets are misplaced.

Pets that run away or are lost sometimes find their way to the

humane society, but not always for long, said Jennie Akins, animal

care associate with the humane society.

“Colorado state law says that you have to keep an animal for

three days and we hold them for five,” Akins said.

After five days at the humane society, the animal becomes the

legal property of the shelter and is given behavior tests to

determine if it is adoptable.

If owners wait to pick up their pets until after the five-day

waiting period, they will have to re-adopt the dog and pay another

$80 for a dog and $90 for a puppy.

Cary Rentola, marketing and community events manager at the

humane society, said if a dog is impounded and an owner claims it,

additional fees are assessed.

“Each day that we have an animal here, there is a boarding

charge,” she said.

For every day the dog is held at the humane society $10 is

charged to the owner. An impound fee is also issued, which can

range from $40 to $60. An additional $10 is charged if the pet is

spayed or neutered and $27 if the pet is not.

“We are trying to educate the community about pet

overpopulation,” Rentola said.

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