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Denver Animal Protection Focus Group - Restaurants

Jul 25 2018 - Jul 25 2018

Start Time: 6:00 p.m.
End Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: 200 W. 14th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204

Denver Animal Protection (DAP) is proposing new regulations regarding Private Off-Leash Enclosures. The proposed Off-Leash Dog Enclosure Regulations provide a legal path forward for private organizations wanting to offer outdoor off-leash dog enclosures. As such, we want to engage organizations that may be impacted by these regulations and hear their suggestions, concerns or comments. Before moving forward with the regulations, we hope to be able to take into account as many considerations as possible.

This web page has been updated to better explain that while currently local regulations prohibit off-leash dogs anywhere but a public dog park and private residences in Denver, the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) Program does set forth certain regulations for specific circumstances as it relates to private off-leash enclosures.

PACFA regulations apply at state-licensed dog daycare and boarding facilities, for example. PACFA is a licensing and inspection program dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of those animals in pet care facilities throughout Colorado.

Denver’s proposed regulations would work together with existing PACFA regulations to fill in gaps where PACFA is not currently enforcing, as it relates to outdoor off-leash enclosures. In any scenario under which PACFA has existing regulations, DAP would likely reference PACFA regulations in the proposed rule.

Our focus groups will facilitate discussions centered on four of the most interested and impacted industries in terms of allowing private off-leash enclosures: Dog daycares, restaurants, HOA’s and rental properties. These regulations would not apply to single family residences.

Some of the options for regulation criteria include:

  • Dogs must be vaccinated and current on their rabies vaccine (with appropriate tags).
  • Persons 10 years of age and younger are not permitted in an Off-Leash Enclosure.
  • A person may not bring more than two (2) dogs at a time to an Off-Leash Enclosure.
  • Anyone seeking to build an off-leash dog enclosure must apply with Denver Animal Protection and is subject to an inspection. The enclosure must meet the following criteria: 
    • Minimum height of five (5) feet along the entire perimeter.
    • A two-gate “Buffer Zone” must be established to allow safe entry into the enclosure and opportunity for an owner to leash and unleash a dog.
    • No more than one (1) dog for every forty (40) square feet of space within the enclosure.
    • Excrement bags and covered waste containers must be provided at all times within the enclosure.
  • Owners or Operators are responsible for ensuring that all dog excrement and trash are picked up within the enclosure and “Buffer Zone.”  Perimeter barriers must also be cleaned or rinsed to reduce accumulation of dog urine. 

If you are interested in attending, please keep in mind only restaurants/food establishments will be discussed during this focus group.

These regulations will be separate from Denver’s existing food safety regulations which allow restaurants to host canines on patios provided certain conditions are met, such as dogs being leashed at all times. The regulations that we hope to put forward after our community and industry conversations will govern private off-leash dog enclosures but will not in any way change or impact Denver’s current food regulations. The proposed Off-Leash Dog Enclosure Regulations could provide a compliant path forward for restaurants wanting to offer outdoor off leash dog enclosures adjacent to or near dining areas where none are currently allowed.

Please note that this effort relates exclusively to DAP’s Off-Leash Enclosure criteria and that there may be required permits and regulations from other agencies for off-leash enclosures that are not addressed in the proposed DAP regulations or as part of this focus group.  

DAP encourages all interested in this regulation to attend. If you have any further questions you may contact Denver Animal Protection at 720-913-1311.

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