GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Police Chief Terry Wilson said beginning immediately, Glenwood Springs police will be ticketing the owners of dogs seen without leashes in public places or commons areas.
Wilson said in several recent incidents, people walking alone or walking their own dogs were confronted or charged by unleashed dogs.
"In two of the incidents, the dogs were pit bull or similar appearing breeds, and the people who were confronted and charged were significantly frightened," Wilson said. "The simple fact is it doesn't make people feel safe."
The last straw came Wednesday morning when a woman walking her dog on Mountain Sopris Drive was charged by a pit bull, and knocked down when the dog's owner tried to restrain the dog.
"She had already changed her dog-walking route three times to avoid confrontations with the other dog," Wilson said.
"No one has been seriously injured, but we have enough dogs being let off leash and escaping from residences, it makes people uncomfortable," he said.
City code requires that all dogs not contained on their owner's property must be on a leash no more than six feet long and in the firm grasp and control of a person capable of restraining the dog.
The leash law applies to city streets and sidewalks, parks, bike paths, pedestrian paths, trails, parking lots, multi-family housing common areas, and other places where the dog owner does not have exclusive rights of occupancy.
Wilson said officers used to issue verbal warnings. Now, dog owners should expect to get a ticket even on the first offense.
Ticket penalties can be as high as $1,000, he noted.
Wilson also encouraged residents to call police if they experience a repeated problem with an unleashed dog.
"Please be considerate and respectful of your neighbors and obey the requirements for dog owners," Wilson said.
The fenced dog park west of Coach Miller Drive is the safest place within city limits for off-leash exercise, he noted.