Dog owner could face charges in elk calf attack
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Blackmere Drive on Emerald Mountain reopened Friday morning following an all-day closure Thursday, when an off-leash dog attacked an elk calf near the trailhead.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Kris Middledorf, who moved the calf farther away from the trail Thursday, said he returned to the site Friday morning and didn’t see any signs of the animal.
The majority of Blackmere was designated as off-leash through Thursday. A previously scheduled seasonal change took effect Friday, requiring pets to be leashed from the trailhead through the intersection with Emerald Meadows.
“I’m hoping that the cow came back last night and picked up her calf, and they found a better place to be away from humans and dogs,” Middledorf said.
The attack took place at the trailhead, which is an on-leash section of the trail. Steamboat Digs Dogs President Kathy Connell said that’s been an especially problematic area.
“We’re trying to work with Animal Control to have a heavier presence” at the trailhead, she said. “One incident is one incident too many.”
Even when dogs are off leash, they must be under voice and sight control at all times. Connell said Steamboat Digs Dogs is in the planning stages of providing voice command classes for pet owners in the community.
“We’ve got to work together. We’ve got to be responsible,” Connell said. “We need to do everything possible to not have conflicts with humans or with animals.”
Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Jerry Stabile said the department will wait to see what CPW decides before pursuing municipal charges. The dog’s owner reported the incident to police, which Connell said she hopes law enforcement takes into consideration when deciding on charges.
“We are working so hard to have this work,” Connell said. “Things have really worked well when you consider how many registered dogs we have in this town.”
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