Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pets in Summit County

As we roll into our summer season and the county begins to pack with visitors and seasonal residents alike, Summit County Animal Control reminds you of some very important pet owner responsibilities.

Dog licensing in Summit County is the law. All dogs over the age of 3 months are required to have a valid Summit County Pet Animal License after the dog has been owned, kept, maintained or harbored in the county for any consecutive 14-day period. Licenses may be obtained at the shelter in Frisco for all dogs residing in unincorporated county, Dillon, Silverthorne and Blue River. Dog owners need to bring a copy of their dog's current rabies vaccination record. The cost for a one-year license is $15 for a spayed or neutered dog and $50 for an intact dog.

There are many benefits that go along with licensing your pet aside from abiding by the law. First of all, you are more likely to have your pet returned to you by an animal control officer if your pet is wearing a valid license. If your dog is injured, the officer will be able to contact you. You also may avoid costly impound fees and fines if your dog is wearing a valid license. License fees support the animal control and shelter .

Even though it may seem like a good idea to take your pet along to run errands or accompany you on an outing, leaving a pet in an unattended vehicle can be deadly, and you may be ticketed. Animal control reserves the right to enter any unattended vehicle where an animal is in distress. The temperature outside may be comfortable, but inside, it can double or even triple within an hour. Even with windows cracked, your pet can be at risk of overheating and death. If you must leave your pet in a vehicle, remember to provide proper ventilation and water and park in the shade whenever possible. Check on your pet regularly to be sure they are not in distress from the heat. It is best to avoid the risk and leave your pet at home where he will be more comfortable.

In most areas of unincorporated county, the law is immediate control, unless otherwise posted. This means control of an animal by the physical presence of a responsible person, within 10 feet of the animal and such responsible person does exhibit voice control over the animal so as to prevent it from being a public nuisance or from being in violation of Summit County Animal Control resolutions.

The laws on bikeways, all wilderness areas, national forest campgrounds, including A-Basin are considered “physical control,” which means control of an animal by means of a tether or a leash no longer than six feet in length, attached to the animal and held by a responsible person; or, confinement within a locked vehicle or locked enclosure sufficient to prevent the animal from escaping or making contact with other persons or animals. Also be aware that dogs that harass wildlife may incur you a $300 fine as well as being dangerous to your pet.

When planning a hike with your dog, be sure to condition your best friend by working up to the distance and terrain you plan to tackle. Pay attention to your dog's feet when crossing scree and other rough terrain as their pads can get torn up causing the dog to become immobile. Remember to be courteous to other hikers and bikers on trails and keep your animals under control when approaching others. If your animal causes an accident or injury, you as an owner are responsible for all costs incurred.

Lastly be mindful of picking up after your pet. It's not only the right thing to do but is required by law.

For questions or concerns, contact the Summit County Animal Control and Shelter at (970) 668-3230, or log on to www.co.summit.co.us/animalcontrol to view our laws and resolutions.