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Rash of aggressive dog incidents hits Idaho Springs

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Police are cracking down on leash laws after three people have been bitten in recent weeks

By Ian Neligh

Three people were involved in aggressive dog incidents in recent weeks, according to Idaho Springs police.

People were bitten in two of the encounters, and as a result, the police department is cracking down on leash laws.

“We want people to be responsible with their pets. We also want them to know that we are at a point now between population density and the frequency of dogs running loose that they’ve really left us few options but to take a more stringent line to enforcing the leash laws,” said Police Chief Chris Malanka. “The frequency of people reporting dog incidents is increasing. I think to get three reports in a three-week period is significant.”

In one encounter, a man and woman who were visiting Idaho Springs and walking along Miner Street were attacked by a dog who escaped its yard. The man was bitten.

“They left town. They didn’t file a report with the police, but they later sent us some correspondence and so we followed up,” Malanka said. “Given the nature of the injuries, we did do an investigation and cited that dog owner.”

During the second attack, two dogs were being walked on leashes. The bigger of the two dogs was being led by a 9-year-old, who couldn’t control the dog.

“Subsequently, the larger dog attacked the smaller dog, and the dog owner got between them and ended up getting bit,” Malanka said.

A person with their dog off leash can be fined as much as $2,600, but the citation’s amount is determined by a judge.

Malanka added that dogs involved in those types of incidents are also checked for proper vaccination records, and owners who don’t have them receive a second violation and the dog is often quarantined.

Idaho Springs Mayor Mike Hillman said he was concerned about the recent reports of aggressive dogs. He’s seen people in the park with their dogs off-leash and didn’t really think before, but he said even a little dog could cause harm.

“One of the things that I’d like to see is better enforcement and not giving anybody any slack on dogs off-leash, especially in town, around town and in city limits,” Hillman said.

Hillman added another issue is people not cleaning up after their dogs.

“That’s a huge problem we have here in town. We are always cleaning up City Hall’s property, and the dog bite and aggressive dogs is just another (issue from) irresponsible owners that needs to be addressed,” Hillman said.