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City Manager: Dog acting more aggressive

Group not allowed to bring in vet to rescue feral canine

Posted: September 19, 2013 - 8:06pm  |  Updated: September 22, 2013 - 11:09am


The City of Soldotna and a volunteer rescue group have tried to capture a feral dog living in Soldotna. Both have not succeeded.

The rescue group contacted an out-of-state veterinarian to dart the dog, known as Freedom, with non-lethal chemicals, but the city won’t allow the vet to take that action. An online petition has been started to “help rescue Freedom.”

The petition, managed through the website, claims Soldotna Chief of Police Peter Mlynarik has “forbidden the safe and human rescue of a shy husky dog.” The petitions reached more than 1,500 supporters as of Thursday afternoon. The goal is 5,000 signatures.

According to the webpage information for the petition, volunteers from Mojo’s Hope, Red Shed Racing and Straw for Dogs reached out to a California veterinarian who is an “expert in chemical capture.” Scott Amsel agreed to come to Soldotna to “save Freedom” at the volunteers’ expense.

At a Sept. 11 Soldotna City Council meeting, Mlynarik said he doesn’t know what kind of chemicals the vet was planning to use, and, to work as a vet in Alaska, Amsel must be licensed by the state.

Mlynarik said animal control has tried different non-lethal options to capture the dog.

“Our first thing isn’t to go out and try to destroy (the dog),” Mlynarik said.

Soldotna Animal Control Officer Marianne Clark said she has tried to follow the dog, but, being a feral animal, Freedom just runs away. She said a trap is the safest option for both the dog and residents, so that has been Animal Control’s method for capturing her. Clark said, as an Animal Control Officer, she doesn’t carry a weapon and doesn’t have the equipment to put Freedom down on the streets.

Clark said the dog used to avoid people, but she has heard Freedom has been approaching and barking at people.

“That just started,” she said. “(That behavior is) a major concern.”

At the Sept. 11 meeting, Dixson said the city would not normally spend “a lot of time” searching for a feral dog, but the dog has been acting more aggressive lately toward some residents and parents are concerned for their kids’ safety.

“Every effort will be made to capture this dog without shooting it,” Dixson said. “However, if it is in a situation where it is displaying aggressive behavior, we’re going to take it out.”

Jill Garnet, of Red Shed Racing in Kasilof, has obtained paperwork for the dog from its previous owner, and she had claimed legal ownership of Freedom. Once the dog is captured, she will be placed in a secure location, Garnet said. Garnet, along with her team of rescue volunteers, have tried to capture the dog for the past five months using a variety of live traps and a custom-made pen. The group tried netting her as well.

The group realized it needed to explore more options after multiple failed attempts to capture Freedom. Garnet said after communicating with Soldotna Animal Control, the team contacted Amsel.

“He has darted feral dogs to a great number. … He knows the exact drugs and dosages to use,” she said.

The rescue group told Animal Control about Amsel coming up to dart the dog, Garnet said. Five days before his arrival, Mlynarik prohibited the darting, according to the webpage.

The group has done hundreds of hours of surveillance, has a team ready and has an action plan, if Amsel is allowed to come to Soldotna and dart the dog. Garnet said.

“(The rescue group) agrees (Freedom) needs to come off the street and needs a better environment,” Garnet said.

Sen. Peter Micchiche said public safety is always the police department’s first concern, and, with aggressive dogs, the department has to take action to keep residents safe, “if things go south.”

However, he observed the dog with some of the rescue volunteers and, based on his “personal evaluation on the dog’s demeanor,” he thinks the canine can be socialized. He rescued a feral dog 20 years ago that became the family dog.

“Good dogs deserve a chance. … I certainly hope that this ends up being a happy ending for this particular dog,” he said.


Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

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Red Shed Racing
Red Shed Racing 09/20/13 - 09:53 am
Help Us Save Freedom

You can help us save Freedom by signing our online Petition at

If you would like to learn more about her or her story or our plan please visit our Facebook Profile - Save Freedom.

I would like to THANK Senator Peter Micciche for his Advocacy and his Support - He WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND last weekend by coming out with his bicycle and dip-net as a group of us tried to capture her and get her to safety. He has been in constant contact and is really hoping for the BEST outcome for Freedom.

To Chief Mlynarik - We all want the same thing here - Let's work together and get this done!!!!!!!

jerzygirl 09/20/13 - 10:06 am
Save Freedom

This dog has been on the streets for over a year and has harmed not one person or animal. She is healthy and fending for herself. Since there is already a safe environment for her to be relocated to, I feel that Dr Amsel should be allowed to come up here and work with one of the local vets to get her safely darted and relocated.

Tonichelle 09/20/13 - 11:48 am
So why can't the "good

So why can't the "good doctor" send the stuff needed to a vet willing to help in this area? Why does it HAVE to be THIS vet?

This battle between the "rescue" group and the city has gone on long enough IMO.

As much as we want to vilify one person or city management, they are at least taking an active role. I'm not a fan of these one-sided stories that have been floating around making these people come out as monsters when they at least in this article sound completely reasonable.

rainbowbrite 09/20/13 - 12:01 pm
"The rescue group told Animal

"The rescue group told Animal Control about Amsel coming up to dart the dog, Garnet said. Five days before his arrival, Mlynarik prohibited the darting, according to the webpage."

An unlicensed (to Alaska) veterinarian discharging a chemical dart right smack in the middle of Soldotna... of course the Police Department has to do due diligence on this before allowing such action.

Red Lantern
Red Lantern 09/20/13 - 12:51 pm

I fully believe that through combined efforts of bylaw, vets, and rescue groups there will be an amicable and humane capture of Freedom and she will be placed in her new home at Red Shed Racing Kennels, who is anxiously awaiting her safe arrival. Respectful persistence and shared brainstorming by all parties, to collaborate an effective humane capture, is imperative.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/20/13 - 01:51 pm
Sounds like someone is hoping

Sounds like someone is hoping for a good running sled dog to help them in their racing kennels as winter is on it's way.
Then Freedom can be renamed to Servant.
I would ask F&G, you know the ones that dart wolves and other animals that are problems, or for purposes to do research on them. I bet they have the equipment and know how to get-r-done and they are state certified as well.

SuzyTwoTablets 09/20/13 - 03:10 pm
The Fate of Freedom

Some might say that a dog isn't worth all the bother. However, the second society becomes immune to the least within, it may as well predict the end of civilized society as we know it today. Red Shed Racing and all of the other organizations and supporters from around the world have expressed more than a concern for the welfare of a dog, they have expressed a desire to keep our civilization alive and thriving.

Freedom represents far more that her physical body. She embodies a society that cares about how it conducts itself and cares about the outcome of its actions.

We can all remain diligent and vigilant over the fate of Freedom or we can toss ourselves over to a time, in the future, when the elderly, the weak, physically impaired or sick newborns also become expendable ..... simply because one person in charge says that's the way it must be.

Fighting for the Fate of Freedom is fighting for the fate of all mankind.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/21/13 - 09:25 am
As I stated, ask F & G as

As I stated, ask F & G as they dart animals all the time, maybe they can help. And yes when Freedom is captured she will be chained to a post more than likely and her freedom will be limited to being placed in harness and run pulling a sled by some kennel, then chained back to that post till the next time.
Unless some non racing kennel person adopts her to insure her freedom.
And yes I agree that care for animals does reflect this society we live in here in America. A society that now cares more for animals than humans to our shame all due to the almost total lack of morals and it's not ONE person alone that is promoting this agenda of animals over humans either, unlike one is being blamed here. It's now the vast majority of Americans that sit around and promote animals over humans to the total detriment and collapse of our society.
At any rate I hope Freedom does get rescued and given to a good Private home before she gets a stray bullet from a good citizen who might be protecting their kids or animals.
I would at least call F & G to check on help.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/26/13 - 11:10 am
Is Freedom still Free or has

Is Freedom still Free or has she been incarcerated to a life of servitude yet? Did anyone call F & G yet or what? Just wonder what's up and hopefully she is at good home.

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