Judge rules for CARE in barking-dog case
Post Independent Staff
Colorado Animal Rescue is out $10,000 in attorney fees and consultant charges, but it was found not guilty of violating Garfield County’s barking dog ordinance on Wednesday.
“This is more than we anticipated spending,” said Colorado Animal Rescue board member Sharon Haller.
The barking dogs complaint was filed by Elk Springs subdivision resident Steve Smith, of 184 Crescent Lane, at 8 a.m. on May 17. CARE was cited for a misdemeanor violation of the county’s nuisance law, according to Garfield County Court records.
After a two-day trial that concluded Tuesday, Garfield County Judge Paul Metzger ruled that the District Attorney’s office had not proven Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) violated the county’s barking dog ordinance.
“The court was satisfied CARE had adopted and implemented ‘reasonable’ management practices to ensure against continuous barking,” said Bob Noone, attorney for the nonprofit animal shelter.
After the trial, Smith called the judge’s ruling a “travesty of justice,” and said he might file a civil lawsuit to settle the matter.
“The place will not continue,” Smith said. “Justice is on our side. We will win. It’s only a matter of time and expense.”
The CARE shelter is located north of the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus, at 2801 County Road 114. Smith’s house is 2,570 feet from the shelter, according to testimony in the case.
Barking dog complaints from Smith date back at least two years, Haller told the Garfield County Commissioners last December. That’s when Smith asked the commissioners to require CARE to obtain a special-use permit to operate its shelter, which the commissioners declined to do.
Haller told the commissioners that in the previous two years, CARE installed fabric inside the shelter to lessen the noise, and hired an extra employee to make sure “barkers” were outside only a short time.
Haller told the commissioners it’s not humane to keep dogs inside all the time. “That’s not something we’re interested in pursuing,” Haller said.
She also said the Spring Valley area is like an amphitheater, which makes sounds travel. “But we can’t do anything about the geology,” Haller told the commissioners.
Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534
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