Denver, CO

Denver woman makes stink at council meeting about dog poop

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.)

At least one Denver woman wants City Council to tackle a messy, smelly problem.

"I would like to speak about, and it's not a great word, but the dog (droppings) that are all over," Shannon Callahan said during public comment at Monday's meeting.

"(People) don't pick up after their dogs. They leave it in the middle of the sidewalk, in the park, everywhere."

Callahan said she called 311 to report her neighbors who don't pick up their dog doo. But 311 told her that even though the dog owners violate city law, the city can do little if it doesn't know where the violators live.

"I called 311, and I asked how I get this taken care of, and I really didn't get much of a response," Callahan said. "They referred me to animal control. These are not animals that are loose.

"They told me to follow people to their homes and find their addresses. Well excuse me, I don't really want to become a stalker. They're going to call the police on me because I'm following them to their home."

Dog dropping law already in place

Denver has an ordinance that requires people to pick up dog excrement immediately. Denver City Council member Chris Hinds, who represents the dense Capitol Hill neighborhood, said most people usually do.

"We ran into a similar issue regarding dog poop when the parks department removed trash cans along a boulevard in Council District 5," said Hinds, who represents District 10. "Ultimately, those residents were only tarnishing their own neighborhood."

He said the problem seems to have resolved itself. "Collecting your dog's poop is a value we believe is important - it's unsightly, it can be stinky, and it can be a public health hazard. Those laws are important to have - even the ones that are difficult to enforce - because our laws are the documentation showing our community's values. "

Hinds said there needs to be an enforcement and awareness component to the law. "An education campaign sounds smart considering the public comment and the boulevard conversation, but that would likely ultimately rest with either parks or animal protection."

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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