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Navarre investigating solutions to animal abuse issues

Posted: November 21, 2012 - 7:12pm  |  Updated: November 21, 2012 - 7:21pm

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said Tuesday he was taking the first step in considering how the borough might address cases of animal abuse or neglect.

The mayor’s investigation will gather data on what resources and options exist, look at other Alaska boroughs’ costs and problems with abuse and neglect issues in order to mitigate the concerns of residents who have petitioned the borough assembly at several meetings during the last few months.

The mayor’s action is not a commitment to borough animal control, but rather to simply gather good information to pass on to the assembly, Navarre said.

“It could come in any number of forms — maybe we make some grant funds available,” Navarre said after the meeting. “Maybe the assembly could consider if they want to put it out for a vote again. But in order to do that, you really need to know what the costs associated with it are. Do we supplement already existing organizations in their efforts or do we try to do something on our own?”

Animal abuse and neglect cases are not new to the borough, but many residents have recently testified to the assembly they have become frustrated with a lack of solutions to the problem.

In 1998, Kenai Peninsula Borough voters turned down an advisory ballot question asking if the borough should consider limited animal control powers and whether those powers should include dangerous animal control and disposal, rabies control and adoption. Voters turned down the advisory question 2,254 votes to 1,950 votes, but said if such limited animal control were approved, it should include all three of those powers.

Currently, animal control is limited to incorporated cities like Kenai and Soldotna and while Alaska State Troopers are charged with investigating allegations of animal abuse, they rarely do because they often lack the time and resources.

Tim Colbath, founder of Alaska’s Extended Life Animal Sanctuary in Nikiski, has proposed several ideas to combat the situation, including the formation of an emergency animal resource and response team to present evidence to help troopers obtain a search warrant.

“This, Mr. Mayor, I think should be an indication to you directly — and to the assembly members — that it is not just me,” he said speaking about the numerous people who testified at the meeting about abuse issues. “This is the community asking you to take action.”

Colbath said he and others are not looking for animal control, rather just a way to help with what he said is a growing problem.

“We’re not looking for anything that resembles animal control here, sir,” he said. “No licensing, no barking dog police, no leash laws, no restrictions additionally (from) today. All we need is the borough sanctioning to address these abuse cases. Additionally, the borough needs this emergency animal resource and response team for disasters and catastrophic emergencies.”

Assembly president Linda Murphy said Wednesday she thinks the assembly as a whole would like to help with the situation, but short of adopting animal control powers was unsure what else the borough could legally do.

“On the other hand, we definitely have a problem and something has to be done about it and I’m not sure if it’s as simple as Mr. Colbath thinks it is,” she said.

Murphy said it was “too bad” the state isn’t helping with enforcement. But, Murphy said she still has “a lot of questions and not a lot of answers” and was looking forward to what Navarre presents.

“If money was no object and there were no legal problems, it would be great if we could have animal control in the borough,” she said. “I don’t think we will ever be able to do that. Our borough is too large and many areas are sparsely populated so how could you possibly have area-wide animal control?”

Said Assembly Member Ray Tauriainen at the meeting, “It is hard to look at, you can’t just wish it away. It would be nice if ... something positive could be done to reduce (abuse and neglect).”

Judy Fandrei, a former veterinary technician and creator of the Peninsula Spay/Neuter Fund, encouraged the borough to collaborate with local shelters and other entities as the process went forward.

“I had to work with the clinics and the shelters to get my program to work — if I didn’t have them on board, it wasn’t going to work,” she said after the meeting. “So I guess my thought is that because this has to do with legal issues and the borough ... you’ve got to have the troopers, along with the shelters, along with the community and then find out how other places in the state protect animals that are abused or neglected.”

Fandrei complimented the mayor’s effort.

“It sounds like what they are trying to do is not do animal control, but just trying to protect and help lessen the number of animals that are abused and neglected,” she said. “We are trying to do the right thing to make this community better, I think. It is a start and it is a good start and we need to start there ... at the beginning.”

Brian Smith can be reached at brian.smith@peninsulaclarion.com.

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RaySouthwell
1054
Points
RaySouthwell 11/23/12 - 08:35 am
0
2
retracted

retracted

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 11/22/12 - 12:42 pm
2
0
Southwell and Animals

Does anything in this article say "hospital" to you, Southwell? It doesn't! Your constant beef with the hospital is taking away from an important issue to a whole lot of us. As for your last question? My answer is NO!

Abuse of animals seems to run rampant on the peninsula. But, sometimes it's folks who have fallen on hard times that can't afford to feed their farm animals or pets. I have been in that position. Friends of Pets bought me some catfood and dogfood. I had 4 cats and two dogs, so it wasn't like I had an entire stable of critters. What I am saying is that if folks knew they could get feed for their critters during crisis times, that that info was easily available, we may see calls of "abuse" decrease. So yes, an emergency fund should be set up. It is not hard to weed out the cheaters from the folks in actual need.

Ladybug
4
Points
Ladybug 11/22/12 - 06:01 pm
0
0
Really Ray...Really

This article is about ANIMALS that can NOT speak for themselves! You obviously have NO problem speaking for you. They have no one and I think it's a great idea that something could finally be getting started to help them.
I have had problems with CPH from a patient view point, but this is NOT the time or place to post them.
So Ray, I suggest you stop blowing your life with all this hate. It'll only eat you alive and ruin it and doesn't do anything for the ones you hate.

RaySouthwell
1054
Points
RaySouthwell 11/23/12 - 08:36 am
0
0
retracted

retracted

Norseman
3613
Points
Norseman 11/23/12 - 08:20 am
1
1
Ray just needs a big warm

Ray just needs a big warm fuzzy group hug. Apparently he isn't getting enough love from the militia.

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 11/23/12 - 10:54 am
1
0
animals

No matter what Animals,people,taxes.Someone does not like their place of employment, but goes to court to save his job.Then at every turn continues to berate the employer.Please if the place is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.bad.Get other employment.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 11/23/12 - 11:47 am
1
0
Article Hijacked

See what you did, Ray? Hardly any talk on here about the article and certainly no help to Navarre. There are thousands of animals in the borough and it's a huge area to consider. And consider we must. Thank you for your retractions, but I'm afraid the damage has been done.

When I lived in Valdez, we had dart tourneys for everything from cab fares for the inebriated to Friends of Pets. Every bar and club in town participated, as did all the dart teams. We raised tons of money and had a ball doing it. Made for some very fun Winters.

Could something like that be done to provide emergency funds for the animals? Who is going to administer it is of utmost importance, too. Animal Control? Senior Citizens? The Foodbank? That part is up to the powers that be. But, when giving out the funds in the form of "certificates", it should come with a home visit to see the animals in trouble. No one wants a Trooper at their door, so they are out until abuse is ascertained.

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 11/23/12 - 04:18 pm
0
1
You ain't seen nothing yet folks

It's gonna get worse folks as money gets more scarce and people need to feed family & selves, animals will suffer more.
The thing is that people just can't seem tp be able to put down animals yet will at every turn put down or try to destroy fellow humans.
So explain to me Norseman where your comments have anything to do with this article, but as usual seem to want to discredit others that you disagree with which make you the actual joke, not Ray.
But i see that he retracted his post after thinking about it as we all some times have to do, don't we Norseman, Mr Soup eater trainer?
As for Navarre doing anything or coming up with a solution, it ain't gonna happen because he has not got a clue of what to do about anything other than stuffing his own coffers and animals ain't gonna get that done.
People need to be able to call some one free of cost to put their animals down if they can't do it, it is alot better than allowing them to suffer and starve or freeze to death.

Cane Corso
3
Points
Cane Corso 12/03/12 - 11:04 pm
0
0
Animal Abuse

In my opinion there are lots of cases of animals being abused locally. Some residents think they can just feed there animals and leave them outside chained up or worse roaming free . Because there to lazy to get out and walk there dogs. And the troopers have nothing better to do than give out speeding tickets they should enforce all the local laws not just traffic ones . I think there should also be a Leash law not just in city limits. And someone needs to hold these people accountable who abuse there dogs. We all have ups and downs and getting together as a community to help those in need is a must Dogs are family and should be treated lawfully as so. Lets help our best friend since he can't speak for him self

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