City has concrete laws regarding sidewalk cows

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018 8:48 PM
The colorful free-range cow welcomes customers to the Mac Ranch, which is not an actual ranch, in case anyone was wondering.

A friend and I encountered this colorful cow, apparently lost from the Chicago “CowParade” art exhibit, and she (the cow and not my friend) was partially blocking our path on the sidewalk. Is Bessy OK since she isn’t sitting or lying down, or is there a loophole for members of the cattle community? Sign me as Beau Vine, A Concerned Citizen for Equal Justice

Durango’s new sidewalk safety law expressly states “persons” are barred from sitting, kneeling, reclining or lying down in the Central Business District.

Other animal species are not included. But don’t think Our Fair City has ignored potential cattle-related conflicts.

Animal regulations are promulgated separately under Chapter 4, Article II of the city code. Not surprisingly, this section is titled “Livestock.”

First of all, unless you live in an R-A zone on a 1-acre lot or larger, the law says you can’t keep a “horse, cow, sheep, goat, pig or swine” in town, except at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Thus, when it comes to animal husbandry in Durango, urban rules and rural customs make strange bedfellows.

But suppose you’re just an ol’ cattle-puncher getting along little dogies.

That’s “dogie” with one “g.”

Gee, you’d think this spelling would be widely understood in this cow town. When it comes to “dogie,” our schoolkids have been led “a-stray.”

In any case, the human sit-lie ordinance was a business-led response to the city kowtowing to legal threats over anti-loitering laws.

Cattle, on the other hand, lack such vigorous civic advocacy – and Durango has strict measures to prevent bovine vagrancy.

“Stock shall be driven through the city in as short a time as possible and with reasonable notice,” reads Durango’s law on cows “running at large.”

Thank goodness the city is spared from ruinment by ruminants!

Not that “ruinment” is a word. But why be hidebound by the herd mentality of linguistics?

If you think the city has a beef with at-large cows, consider that rowdy horses have specific prohibitions.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to ride, lead or drive horses upon the public parks or public sidewalks of the city or upon any part of the parkway located in the center of Third Avenue in the city.”

Seriously. This gem is still on the books. Horse riding on The Boulevard must have been an issue back in the day.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... and we mean the Mac Ranch and not the El Rancho.

The Mac Ranch is where you’ll find the colorful cow statue – sometimes inside the computer store and sometimes free-range out front.

“From time to time, we’ll put the cow outside just for fun,” said a worker there, changing his system preference to operate in Incognito Mode. “It’s been a fixture here for several years.”

Just to be clear, the Mac Ranch is not an actual ranch. Apple is its “stock” in trade.

Now that we have udderly milked this column for every cow pun out there, it would be-hoof us to moo-ve on. After all, Action Line has pasture tolerance for such bull.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if you have four stomachs.