Officers on alert to keep dogs safe |

Officers on alert to keep dogs safe

— Hot dogs are perfect for barbecues, but you do not want your dog to turn into one by leaving it in a scorching car, where temperatures can rocket well above 100 degrees.

In anticipation of another busy summer weekend, animal control officers are reminding dog owners about the laws in Steamboat Springs. Dog owners who leave their pet in a hot car can be charged with animal cruelty.

Animal control officer Krista Amatuzio said Art in the Park is this weekend, and dogs are not allowed in the event. In past years, dog owners have left pets in cars or tied them up outside the event, which is also illegal.

“A dog shall be considered running at large if the dog is left unattended on any public property, whether or not the dog is secured by any leash, cord, chain or other means,” Amatuzio said. “If you leave your dog unattended and tied up, the animal could be impounded by animal control and ticketed.”

Amatuzio said dogs cannot be left unattended in a vehicle when the temperature is 70 degrees or above, unless, in the opinion of the officer, adequate ventilation and water are provided.

“Even 10 minutes could be too long for an animal left in the car on a hot day,” Amatuzio said. “In 10 minutes, the temperature inside the vehicle could reach 160 degrees.”

Pet Kare Clinic reminds its pet owners that a dog whose temperature rises to about 107 degrees will, within a very short time, suffer irreparable brain damage or even death. If someone sees a dog in a hot car, the clinic advises calling Routt County Communications at 970-879-1090 and staying with the animal until help arrives.

The Routt County Humane Society recently took over the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter. This has allowed animal control officers to step up enforcement lately and do more patrols.

In addition to leash laws and animal cruelty cases, officers are looking for people who do not pick up their dog’s waste, which Amatuzio said is becoming a problem. Some dog owners will pick up the waste and put it into a bag, but leave it along the sides of trails, such as Spring Creek. Waste must be disposed of properly, Amatuzio said.

“Poop can spread and harbor disease and can also make our trails and parks unusable for other activities our community enjoys,” she said. “If you are caught not picking up after your pet, it can result in a ticket.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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