Love your Pet, Love your Trails

It is no secret that Colorado (and Broomfield in particular) is known for its beautiful trails and devoted pet owners. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to follow local laws when walking your pet(s) on trails. This keeps you and your pet safe, preserves the natural beauty of Colorado and supports a healthy coexistence with wildlife.

The two most important things about loving your pets while loving your trails are:

  1. Pick up after your dog
  2. Keep your dog on a leash

Picking up after your dog

Why does picking up after your dog matter?

Dog waste is not a natural fertilizer; it's waste!

Dog waste contains harmful bacteria. Dog waste does not fertilize plants; in fact, it has the opposite effect. Dog fecal matter is a major contributor to stormwater pollution and can spread Salmonella, giardia and E.coli in the community. Waste that enters water sources releases ammonia, viruses, bacteria and excess nutrients. These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, contaminate water sources and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.

Dog waste can take a year to fully decompose. Processed dog diets prevent dog waste from breaking down quickly unlike scat left behind by wild animals that subsist on more natural diets. Dog waste left behind in our parks and open spaces is smelly, unsightly, unsanitary and builds up quickly.

Dogs poop a lot and that adds up! The average dog deposits 274 pounds of waste per year. With over 15,350 dogs in Broomfield alone, that is an annual “contribution” of 4,205,900 pounds of dog waste. That is 2100 TONS of poop, the equivalent of 420 large elephants.

It’s the law! Not picking up after your dog is a violation of Broomfield Municipal Code 6-28-010 and may result in a ticket and a fine.

Keeping your dog(s) on a leash

Why is it so important to keep your dog(s) on a leash?

Leashes are for safety, for you and your dog. When a dog runs off-leash on trails, they can encounter potentially dangerous wildlife like coyotes, skunks, prairie dogs and disease-ridden rodents. Off-leash dogs running through tall grasses can also be exposed to parasitic bugs like ticks and fleas.

Leashes promote wildlife viewing. Another reason to keep your dog on a leash is because of the danger it poses to local wildlife and plant populations that cannot defend themselves. You may be surprised how often domesticated animals negatively affect local ecosystems by killing wildlife and damaging plants. Sometimes, just the presence of a dog can change the behavior of wildlife, so when they are faced with a perceived threat of an off-leash dog, this can cause some wildlife to no longer visit an area. Keep your open spaces and parks available to birds, rabbits and other species that call these spaces home by keeping your dog on a leash.

It’s the law! Keeping your dog on a leash is not just a good idea for you and your dog: it’s the law. According to Broomfield’s Running At Large ordinance (6-08-140), an animal is considered to be "at large" or stray if it is:

  • Off the premises of the owner and not under direct and competent control by means of a leash, OR
  • In a common area of an apartment, condominium, or townhouse and not under effective control of its owner by means of a leash, OR
  • On an unfenced portion of the premises of the owner, and the owner is not physically present and able to control the actions of the animal, OR
  • Anchored to any real property of the animal's owner or keeper, if the leash extends beyond the property line of the owner

Stray animals may be impounded. If impounded, owners must pay impound fees when claiming their animals.