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Dog Issues

Durango West 2 receives numerous complaints each year about dogs. These can be regarding residents not picking up their dogs' poop on the streets and greenbelts or dog barking, or unleashed dogs who attack other dogs or make unwanted approaches to other residents on the trails or streets; or dogs harassing wildlife. Residents can find some resources below.

Dog Poop  - Pick Up Your Dog's Poop

Do you know why picking up dog poop is important? The following is from San Juan Mountains Association:

Did you know that unlike bear and coyote poop, dog poop is high in phosphorus and nitrogen? With so many dogs pooping in the backcountry, if we don't pack out their poop, it can actually negatively impact the natural balance of these local ecosystems we love to play in.

One common effect we see is in our waterways. The abnormally high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen allow algae blooms to cloud rivers, streams, and lakes. Higher than normal levels of phosphorus and nitrogen also encourage invasive weeds to thrive.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pet waste is one of the many seemingly small sources of pollution that can add up to big problems for water quality, and even human health. When dog waste is left behind, not only is it unsightly and leaves an overwhelming smell, but it can also leave excessive amounts of bacteria, parasites and nitrates that disrupt outdoor ecosystems. The best way to make sure that neighborhood and natural wildlife stay healthy is by encouraging all pet owners to pick up after their dogs and properly dispose of the waste, ideally in biodegradable bag, and then in their trash can. Read on for four reasons why it’s important to pick up your dog waste:

1.    Dog poop is not natural. It is rational to think that poop is natural because we often see wildlife droppings outside. Wild animals eat nutrients from their existing ecosystem, so they are simply returning what is already there. Dogs, on the other hand, eat pet foods specifically designed to ensure a healthy diet. These pet foods can cause their poop to contain excessive amounts of bacteria and nitrates that can upset the delicate balance of an existing outdoor ecosystem.

2.    Dog poop does not decompose. Dog waste will not fully break down on its own. It is logical to think that dog waste is compostable, but before dog feces fully decomposes, it will get washed over by rainwater, causing it to get into land and water systems where it releases harmful nutrients that cause excessive growth of algae in lakes, streams and rivers. This type of pollution negatively impacts wildlife and humans.

3.    Dog poop contains disease causing bacteria and parasites. Dog waste contains bacteria and parasites that can contaminate water and soil and also be harmful to humans. Even if your dog does not show symptoms of being sick, their waste can carry diseases that are harmful to other animals and humans. Salmonella, E.coli and roundworms are a few of the diseases that can be found in dog poop.

4.    It’s your doody to pick up after your dog. Let’s face it, picking up after your dog is not only common courtesy, but it is your responsibility. When you plan to be out and about with your dog, be prepared to clean up after them. Bring a bag with you. Also, avoid letting your dog poop within 200 feet of a body of water and do not throw dog poop into a storm drain.

Be considerate and responsible in all aspects of pet care. Never assume that solid pet waste eventually goes away just because it’s in an area far from water. Even left in wooded areas, uncollected waste ends up in our water through run-off.

Picking up your dog’s poop may not be your favorite chore, but it’s an important one that helps keep our outdoor spaces, along with our community and pets safe.     Source:

Dog Nuisance Barking

La Plata County Code defines and prohibits nuisance barking. Residents can call Animal Control and/or La Plata County Sherriff’s Dept. anytime. Animal Control will ask you to fill out a formal “Nuisance Barking Statement” . They suggest using a smart phone to record the dog barking, with date and time. 

Chapter 10 of the LPC Code is Licensing, Control and Treatment of Animals. Page 15 of 22 is specific to Nuisance Barking – Warnings, Fines, and Court Appearances. 

Ch.10 of LPC Code: Regulations for Animal Control and Licensing

To report a violation of the code, please contact the La Plata County Humane Society at (970) 259-2847 or visit

Dogs Harassing Wildlife

The Living with Wildlife Advisory Board tells residents: Do not let dogs roam when they are outside. Always keep your dog on leash while hiking or walking to prevent wildlife conflicts. Wildlife raise their young in the summer and dogs off leash may create fatal interference.  Winter greatly decreases the ability of wildlife to maintain energy and dogs off leash can exacerbate the situation. 

For concerns with dogs out of the owner's control or property, please contact the county sheriff or Animal Protection (970) 259-2847. For dogs harassing wildlife, it should be reported to (970) 247-0855.

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