Denver dog park closed over too much poop

DENVER — Dog owners, who typically frequent the Railyard Dog Park off 19th Avenue near Little Raven Street were met with “closed” signs Friday.

Hugo the Frenchie, and his owner Ryan Roeder, was among them.

“Hugo loves the dog park, that’s his favorite thing in the world.”

Denver Parks and Recreation was forced to close the park indefinitely because too many dog owners didn’t clean up after their pets.

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“That’s kind of disgusting,” said Jason Hill, who was disappointed to learn the park was closed, after showing up with his two dogs. “I was cleaning up after other people’s pets in here yesterday.”

Both dog owners were upset that irresponsible pet owners caused the closure.

It’s a stinky situation, one that can pose a health risk for pets and people. Dog waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites.

“I’m kind of hesitant to take him sometimes just because there are so many dogs around and you never really know how sanitary it is,” Roeder said. “So definitely concerning.”

And dog owner Adam Weisman points out, there is a simple solution.

“It’s not acceptable, especially since there are bags here,” he said.

Husky owner Joey Marrone was planning a clean-up event set for Saturday at 9 a.m.

“I mean, if no one shows up, I’ll still be out here at 9 a.m. cleaning up the park,” he said. “If it takes me all day, I’ll sit here all day. I appreciate anyone who comes out to help out.”

Marrone said the park provides a much-needed space for downtown dogs to get loose.

“Having a husky in the city isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do, so having somewhere for him to run around and play with other dogs and have somewhere to kind of roam to do his thing, was really important to me.”

Marrone points out that some distracted pet owners might be socializing and not realize their dog is taking care of business on the outskirts of the park.

In Denver, the fine starts at $150 for the first offense, if you’re caught not picking up after your pet.

Marrone said he alerted other members of the community that the clean-up event starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Holly Batchelder with Denver Parks and Recreation said park rangers will be there tomorrow to unlock the gate and let volunteers in. She said if volunteers show up and the park is cleaned, the park will likely open up immediately thereafter.

Otherwise, park staff would clean it up, but they typically aren’t assigned that task, so they won’t be able to get to it until next week, Batchelder said.