Animal emergency issues deserve attention

A big thank you to the Clarion for the front page article on Oct. 29. Especially from Alaska’s Extended Life Animal Shelter and Alaska Equine Rescue! Animal neglect, abandonment and abuse has been a problem here on the Kenai Peninsula since I arrived and settled here in the 1980s. The issue may only be raised to the administration or the assembly “periodically” — however the problem has simply gotten worst as the years have passed.

I would like to, as diplomatically as possible, address Mayor Navarre’s closing statement comparing the cost of the operation of the two programs: full Animal Control for areas outside of incorporated cities limits (A/C) for the borough, versus, our proposed Emergency Animal Resource and Response Team approach (EART).

The fact is, the EART will cost at least 50 percent less than A/C. It’s like compairing apples to oranges. The programs are certainly not comparable in cost.

The EART is not Animal Control. There is no mandatory licensing. There are no “barking dog police.” There is no “his dog poop’s in my yard” intervention. No leash law. No limits on the numbers or types of animals a family can have — beyond what already exists in the state. No patrolling for violators or stray animals. No salaried animal control officers. The list of “how they are not the same” is very long. Trying to find similarities between the two programs is actually hard to do.

The EART’s volunteer, certified animal control officers and shelter managers, will receive a small monthly stipends plus reimbursement for time on the job and their fuel and travel costs, exactly the same compensation program currently used by the borough’s volunteer emergency services departments.

The EART is only called into action by the Alaska State Trooper’s dispatcher, a state trooper directly, or an EMS or fire station dispatcher. Because of the tri-borough agreement, the EART may be requested to respond to Anchorage or the Valley to assist as needed and provided for under the agreement. In such case the activation would come directly from the mayor.

Calls received by the EART from the general public will be referred to the troopers or the closest EMS/fire station. Their dispatcher will activate the EART.

That is why the EART will cost 50 percent less than A/C for the borough. It is quite likely the actual cost will be considerably less than 50 percent of A/C!

Home fires that involve domestic animals, car accidents, DUIs, barn and farm fires, neglect, abandonment, abuse, or other similar emergencies that involve pets and domestic animals — large scale emergencies or disasters — is all the EART addresses.

Does the EART sound like “animal control”? Or does it sound like emergency services for families with animals they love in emergencies of all sorts, and helping neglected or abused animals? It sure dosen’t sound like A/C to me, personally.

This approach has never been considered before, so how can Mr. Mayor know it is not popular with the peninsula residents? I have not found one person that disagrees with the EART program, after they have all the facts!

Note: The EART can operate the “vicious dog” regulations, should it come up again after the team is operational.

Tim Colbath, Founder AELAS,
VP PenDog Training

Susan Whipp, Founder, ACO

 

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