Oh, Telluride, how beautiful you are.

Having visited this area while attending numerous events over the course of the last three decades, I’ve finally made my way to living here part-time. The fresh mountain air coupled with the enormous natural beauty that the region embodies is amazing. I’ve really begun to see why so many people so diligently work to call Telluride home.

It doesn’t take long for a person to witness things that are troubling as well. One of the most obvious and troubling issues is the amount of dog waste found along every trail in every park. Telluride prides itself on being dog friendly. With that comes problems and increased responsibility on the part of the Town of Telluride.

In a very short period of time, I’ve witnessed some of the most disturbing behavior coming from dog owners. From the dog walker at Bridal Veil Falls who bull headily ignores all rules of decency in the operation of her business on a daily basis, to the large numbers of folks who so casually parade through the town allowing their dogs to soil the city streets. I’ve witnessed, on numerous occasions, a dog owner allowing their dog to deposit dog waste on a city street and just walking away without any effort to clean it up.

It’s all very baffling to a sensible person.

How does someone allow their dog to urinate on a lamppost or into a snow bank in front of numerous visitors and not feel that it has an impact on others? How does someone allow their dog to poop in a town park, removing only a part of the droppings while leaving a noticeable scar of waste smack dab in front of visitors enjoying a picnic and think that it does not impact others ?

All one needs to do is a quick online search to see that dog waste is a major carrier of numerous diseases. In a time of global concern about rampant illness, one would think that the issues surrounding dog waste would become increasingly important.

All over the world this issue is being dealt with and yet the Town of Telluride seems to have no concerns about it. Lawson Hill stands out as a prime example of how the use of legitimate regulations, set up to control various problems that dogs bring to neighborhoods, is possible.

The Town of Telluride needs to address this issue and soon. Having code enforcement enact rules prohibiting animal urination or defecation in public places would be a good place to start. Engaging a code enforcement officer to enforce the rule would also be a good step. A public information campaign funded by the Town of Telluride notifying dog owners and the public of the regulations is essential and needed.

It would stand as a gesture of good will for the Town of Telluride to inform and remind dog owners that not every visitor or local wants to be licked or rubbed by their dog. This would dramatically improve the standards within the town corridor and likely add improvement to the general reputation of the Town of Telluride as being a sophisticated place to visit.

As it stands right now, Telluride is well on its way to being, and smelling, like one big dog park.

William Neil

Mountain Village and Telluride