TELLURIDE – A bear was spotted forcing its way into the Diggity Dogs food cart next to the courthouse in the early hours of Thursday morning. Walking home from work around 2 a.m., Mike Lee, owner of the Last Dollar Saloon, spotted a “large dark object” standing on top of the overturned Diggity Dog food cart, pawing at the condiment containers.
Lee and others scared the bear away by making loud noises and “appearing larger than we were.”
In the process of turning over the hot dog cart, the bear destroyed its grill. Speaking with The Watch while en route to purchase a new grill in Montrose, Diggity Dogs owner Erick Mosher said that in 16 years in business, he and his wife and business partner Audrey have never experienced a bear tampering with the cart.
“We take every precaution to protect our cart from these sorts of things,” said Mosher. Diggity Dogs has an agreement with the Town of Telluride allowing the storage of the Telluride cart overnight next to the courthouse. “We lock down the cart, cover it in tarps and then secure the tarp with bungees. The thing is rock solid.”
Lee, a 20-year Telluride resident, said he cannot remember seeing a bear trying to get into a food cart, adding that he’s seen a bear on Main Street only once.
“I guess the bear was just really hungry for some Diggity Sauce,” Mosher said. The bear, unavailable for comment, seemed to prefer that condiment over others based, on how much of it was missing when Diggity employees found the wreckage Thursday morning.
Food was stored in the cart overnight, but the bear could not operate the sliding cover that stored the chilled ingredients.
“There’s nothing in the trash code on how to handle the food in the cart,” said Telluride Animal Control director and code enforcement officer Dan Rider. “If the food goes into a trash can, that’s a different story.
“As for the cart itself, there are no regulations surrounding food storage.
“I’ve been here for ten years and I don’t recall seeing a bear going after the food carts,” Rider added. “But they’re bigger bears this year, they’re flipping over dumpsters.”
Rider complemented Telluride residents for following strict guidelines preventing bears from accessing garbage. “Everyone’s done a pretty good job. We’ve got a great ordinance. For some reason the bears have decided to stick around this year. Every day this week, there has been a bear call,” Rider added.
A bear attempted to open the trash canisters behind the Floradora Saloon on Main Street, east of the Diggity Dogs cart. While it is unknown if it was the same bear, a Floradora employee reported seeing a bear attempt to pry open the trash cover, but ultimately failing because of the preventative equipment.
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