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Barking dogs: Why is Boulder talking about making laws more strict?

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 20:38:26-05

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Laws dealing with barking dogs in Boulder County could soon be getting more strict.

The Boulder County Board of Commissioners are discussing changes to an ordinance that governs animal control in unincorporated parts of the county, changing the policy basically from three strikes to two before a ticket or court summons is issued. It also includes allowing video evidence to be sent to the sheriff's office as part of a complaint.

“If we have a persistent issue this is a mechanism for us to be able to deal with it,” said Commander Vinnie Montez of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

The current ordinance requires two independent complaints against one dog for animal control or sheriffs deputies to issue a verbal warning. If a third issue happens within 72 hours that’s reported, a $45 ticket can be issued to the dog’s owner.

The new proposed ordinance would take out the need for two independent complaints and replace it with only one (that can include video evidence). If a second complaint is made, it could result in a ticket being written. Commander Montez added that the writing of these tickets would be discretionary and on a case by case basis.

“We’re not in the business of writing tickets. We’re in the business of fixing problems within the community,” he said.

Montez said that a simplified, two strike ordinance would keep complaints and disagreements between the complainer and the dog owner, instead of needing other neighbors to become involved and possibly cause a neighbor feud.

“We love our dogs, it’s part of them, it’s how they express themselves,” said dog owner Sierra Cantliffe.

“Dogs are vocal, golden retrievers are vocal,” added Debbie Ewing with her golden retriever Pearl pulling at her leash.

Denver7 posted a question about the proposed ordinance change on Facebook, and it immediately was swamped with comments. A majority agreed with Cantliffe and Ewing, saying “dogs bark, get over it” and “It’s what they do.” Others felt differently.

“I don't want to live next to a dog that barks constantly, and I shouldn't have to,” wrote Deb.

“Leaving a dog outside barking incessantly is just rude and bad dog owner behavior,” added Meagan.

The ordinance passed its first reading Wednesday. It will be up for a final vote at the Boulder County Commissioner’s meeting in the next few weeks.