Denverites love their dogs. Nearly 43 percent of Colorado households own canines, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)’s 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. That translates to more than 1.3 million dogs in the Centennial State.
New rules approved by city health regulators have made Denver the first city in Colorado to allow dogs on restaurant and bar patios, according to The Denver Post.
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, here’s what you need to know.
The AVMA‘s Sourcebook says that nearly 45 percent of Americans adopt dogs at an animal shelter. There are many options in the Denver area, including the Denver Animal Shelter, the Dumb Friends League (with locations in Denver and Castle Rock), Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, MaxFund and Humane Society of Boulder County.
The Metro Denver Shelter Alliance also lists its member shelters, rescues and foster organizations. You can view homeless pets online or stop by a facility for a one-on-one meeting.
A dog adoption package like the one at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley typically includes spay or neuter services, a free office visit to a local veterinarian, initial vaccinations and microchip identification implant. The Dumb Friends League also throws in a temporary collar, ID tag and leash.
For the best deal on an adoption fee, consider an older animal instead of a puppy. Shelters often offer these animals for less. Because of the booming pet population, many shelters offer specials throughout the year and, on occasion, certain shelters will let you adopt a dog for free.
Leash laws are also strictly enforced in Denver and other Colorado cities. Dogs allowed to roam streets may be in danger from cars, wild animals or other dogs. For these reasons, dogs must be on a leash when off your property, unless in a designated off-leash park.
In the town of Castle Rock, leashes can be no more than 8 feet long. Pet owners who violate these rules are subject to a fine, and if a dog is found roaming free, it may be turned over to animal control and impounded. Break the rules repeatedly in Jefferson County and you could pay up to $1,000 per offense.
Finally, some area communities have restrictions on certain dog breeds. Be sure to check with your local animal control department or animal shelter if you have any questions.