Council considers pet ordinances
Glenwood Springs City Council tonight will consider banning wolf-hybrid dogs and limiting the number of dogs and cats per household.The proposed wolf-hybrid ban, and language that would clarify the city’s existing municipal code regarding vicious animals, follows an attack by a wolf-hybrid on a 7-year-old girl in downtown Glenwood Springs in May.In addition, council is scheduled to look at a proposal limiting adult domestic dogs and cats to three of each per household. Earlier this month, New Castle’s Town Council limited pet ownership to no more than three adult dogs and five adult cats, and no more than five of the animals combined, per household.Glenwood Springs city attorney Karl Hanlon said the consideration of limiting pet numbers followed complaints by residents of a neighborhood about a home with a lot of pets.”Council decided that they’d like to take a look at that,” he said.The proposed ordinance also would add wolf-hybrids to the list of animals already banned in Glenwood Springs. These include cattle, goats, sheep, swine, foxes, chickens, ducks, turkey and geese, and in excess of four rabbits, except in connection with commercial slaughter and processing of the animals.A wolf-hybrid bit Gracie McSwain in the face May 3 when the girl was at the home of the animal’s owner, Jim Wagner. Wagner wasn’t home at the time, but a house sitter was.Wagner later pleaded no contest to one count of having a vicious dog. He agreed to pay $1,500 in restitution, remove his three wolf-hybrids from his yard and not get any more of the animals.The state legislature this spring prohibited communities from banning breed-specific domesticated dogs, such as pit bulls. But Hanlon said wolf-hybrids aren’t considered domesticated, so they are excluded from that legislation.Hanlon said he and city police chief Terry Wilson are interested in a broader ordinance banning other exotic animals, such as tigers. But for simplicity’s sake and to address the concerns brought on by this year’s attack, they decided to first try to get the wolf-hybrid ban in place and continue working on drawing up language for a broader ban.”We weren’t getting anywhere as quickly as we wanted to,” he said.He said he’s not aware of other wolf-hybrid bans in Garfield County, but bans of wolf-hybrids and other exotic animals are common on the Front Range.At the request of Municipal Judge Victor Zerbi, the proposed ordinance clarifies that owners of vicious animals will be held strictly liable for attacks committed without provocation on private or public property, or for threatening to attack while on public property.Hanlon said this means that the owner of the animal is liable in all circumstances – including, for example, when the animal is under someone else’s care.City staff is recommending approval of the ordinance.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.comCity Council meetingGlenwood Springs City Council will hold its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 108 W. Eighth St. A work session with the Housing Commission will be held prior to the meeting, at 5 p.m.Some items of interest at the regular meeting include:• An update on plans for a whitewater park.• Hearing of an appeal of a Planning and Zoning Commission decision to deny a request for a parking variance for proposed restaurants at the old Elk Mountain Motors location on Sixth Street.• Hearing of an appeal of a Planning and Zoning Commission decision to deny a request for a parking variance for proposed restaurants at the old Elk Mountain Motors location on Sixth Street.
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