In the wake of a dog-on-dog attack in August, officials in the town of Breckenridge, Colorado set up a survey on the Engage Breckenridge website seeking feedback from residents about possible restrictions or bans on certain dog breeds.
The Survey, which garnered public response until November 4, 2013, asked whether certain dog breeds were perceived as dangerous; what the biggest dog issues is in Breckenridge are; and if there should be more restrictions, or a ban, on specific breeds of dogs.
The results of the survey showed overwhelming opposition to a breed-specific ban in town.
There were 1,374 total responses which revealed that residents did not believe a breed ban or restriction would improve public safety. Residents were not in favor of banning or restricting a specific breed, with 1,159 people voting against the idea and only 193 voting in favor.
Instead, the survey results revealed that the biggest dog issues people listed were irresponsible owners, dogs off leash, lack of enforcement and excrement.
In response to the survey results, Police Chief Shannon Haynes noted in her November 4, 2013 memorandum to the Town Council (p. 53 of the work session packet), that given the overwhelming feedback against a breed specific ban or any proactive restrictions, she recommended fine tuning the current ordinances with respect to vicious dogs, as well as considering implementing specific sanctions and penalties as a response to behavior issues, which will serve to address ongoing safety concerns within the community.
Some ordinance changes could include:
Expanding the current “vicious” dog description and providing conditions for keeping a dog deemed dangerous by its behaviors. Those conditions could include: posting a warning sign, reporting to the state, registering as a “dangerous animal,” requirement of an escape proof enclosure and microchips;
Add “At-Risk” dogs to the ordinance. This would include dogs that have not engaged in actions causing injury, but are found to menace or display threating behavior, or repeatedly run at large; and
Recognize and encourage successful training by owners to alleviate the risk associated with their pet.
Her memorandum also recommended investigating potential partnerships with organizations to implement or offer programs designed to prevent incidents through education and training.
The next step is to analyze current Breckenridge ordinances and develop a plan for training, owner support, education and enforcement.
The town council will discuss the survey results at its meeting Tuesday, November 12, 2013. The issue is on the council’s work session agenda. The work session is at the Town Hall Auditorium and begins at 3:00 p.m., with this specific issues slated to start at 4:30.
The city is laying the groundwork for an ordinance that will benefit the entire community. This is a great opportunity for residents to work with their town officials to create positive, beneficial change.
You can read the responses to the survey here.
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