Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fido Not Welcome at some Breckenridge Events

Pets are no longer on the guest list for some Breckenridge events, and crashing the parties could mean fines for their owners due to an ordinance passed by town council.

The new measure, passed at the most recent town council meeting, prohibits animals, except for those involved in the event, from attending certain pre-designated “no pet” or “no animal” events.

“It's primarily based around safety issues and food issues,” Breckenridge chief of police Rick Holman said.

The ordinance requires the town to post signs saying pets are prohibited at the entrances of “no pet” events, and gives Breckenridge officers license to write tickets, associated with a possible $100 fine, to people who do not comply with warnings to remove their animals.

The ordinance follows the Stage Five finish of the Pro Cycling Challenge in Breckenridge Aug. 27. The event drew crowds of more than 50,000 people, but pets were not allowed in.

In recent years there have been more and more events held in Breckenridge that do not allow animals, usually due to the presence of food or large crowds of people. While the majority of pet owners have been compliant with the rules, authorities have recently had people challenging the policy, according to a town memo.

The ordinance gives police the power to write tickets to uncooperative pet owners, Holman said.

Not all events will be pet free. An event committee will decide whether pets will be allowed at individual events.

The town is following a precedent set in other municipalities in Colorado, Breckenridge officials told council members prior to the vote Oct. 11.

“Grand Junction passed a very similar ordinance to this, but they banned animals in all of their downtown special events categorically,” town manager Tim Gagen said. “We're not the only ones looking at regulating animals in these situations.”

Event staff or Breckenridge authorities will first give verbal warning to people that bring animals into no pet/no animal events and will “continue to educate and warn to gain compliance,” according to the memo.