Pigs may fly under new animal code in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Pigs may fly under new animal code in Steamboat Springs

A newborn piglet keeps warm on a farm in Milner last year. A proposed change to the city of Steamboat Springs animal code would allow city residents to raise small domesticated pigs.
Scott Franz

— Animal control officers in Steamboat Springs may soon get a crash course in how to estimate the weight of a pet pig without using a scale.

Proposed revisions to the city’s animal code would allow city residents to legally own domesticated pigs that are under a certain weight for the first time.

Dogs would also benefit under the rule changes that will be considered by the City Council later this month.

Canines could legally swim in the Yampa River off leash and not get their owners in trouble with the law if they don’t prevent an angler from landing that trout or interfere with other river users.

Dog swims would only be allowed when the river flow is at a safe level.

In another change, animal control officers would be able to take action if they found dogs left in hot metal truck beds in the summer sun.

And to create more opportunities for dogs in the future, the new animal code would give the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission the ability to recommend temporary off-leash programs and areas to the City Council.

Police Chief Cory Christensen has been working with dog advocates in recent months to make the animal code more dog friendly.

The code also will raise the fines given to people who don’t pick up their dog’s doo doo.

Christensen told the council on Tuesday night the police department plans to do more community education about animal safety and animal interaction.

Rory Clow brought pigs into the code rewrite in September when she made made a passionate plea to the City Council to allow mini-pigs in local homes.

Clow touted domesticated pigs, which she said have the mental capacity of a 3- to 5-year-old child, as a great, hypoallergenic alternative to dogs and cats.

The new animal rules would allow residents to have up to two domesticated pigs as long as the animals weigh less than 100 pounds and are spayed and neutered by the time they are four months old.

The pigs also would have to wear a harness with an ID tag with contact information for the owner.

Councilwoman Heather Sloop suggested she would like to see the rules revised to allow for bigger pigs.

“What would your comfort level be to increase that poundage?,” Sloop asked Christensen after noting she previously had lived next to a property with an “awesome” pet pig.

Christensen said he might be comfortable raising the pig weight to 150 pounds.

Chickens and goats are already allowed in the city limits.

However, not all city residents are on board with the idea of bringing in the pigs.

Steamboat resident Joe Robbins sent a letter to the council saying he felt pigs, goats and other farm animals are most suited for farms and ranches, not in homes in the city limits.

Robbins urged the council to consider adding minimum acreage requirements for such animals, as well as setbacks from waterways.

Robbins complained about goats that live near his home on Soda Creek.

“The goats smell terrible, are noisy and are polluting Soda Creek,” he wrote.

Another property owner who lives near Soda Creek complained about the pungent smell of the goats.

Council members directed City Manager Gary Suiter to look into the goat issue.

Christensen said updates to the animal code were written with a lot of positive community involvement.

“I can tell you a lot of great work has gone into what you see before you,” Christensen said.

He said some compromises were also made during the code rewrite.

Former city councilwoman Kathy Connell, who is working with other dog owners to make the city more canine friendly, praised the city for proposing the changes.

“We can’t wait to continue to work with Cory but also his staff,” Connell said.

The council will consider the changes to the animal code Dec. 13.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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