Ordinance doesn't have enough bite


Posted: Friday, February 22, 2008

Talk at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting Tuesday turned vicious, but apparently not vicious enough.

Assembly President Grace Merkes proposed an ordinance defining vicious dogs as those that bite a human. However, by the number of questions brought up at the meeting, it wasn't enough to put a clamp on dogs not yet, anyway.

There were a lot of good points brought up by residents and assembly members, such as vaccinations, licensing, liability and costs.

Merkes pointed out this wasn't meant to be full-blown animal control, just an ordinance to address dogs that bite people.

But that's a tough sell in a borough with animal control limited to its cities. It's a mighty big borough out there, and many people in the borough have dogs lots of dogs. You can't address one problem and ignore the rest, and that's exactly what the public and six assembly members expressed.

First of all, who will address the problem? Troopers already are stretched thin on the peninsula tackling problems much bigger than dogs. Fish and Game says it's not their territory, either.

Small steps just won't do when it comes to the issue of animal control in the borough. It has to be all or nothing.

For now, there's just no logical answer especially where funding is concerned until an equitable solution can be found that makes sense to everyone. Well, most residents, anyway.

We hope the rejection of the ordinance doesn't muzzle the issue completely, but until the right answer is presented and approved by voters, this problem will have to be left in the hands of dog owners. Unfortunately, it's the handful of irresponsible owners who pose a danger to the rest of us.

We give kudos to Merkes for bringing the problem to light. It's a good idea, it just needs to be fleshed out more to focus on the overall problem. Hopefully the assembly won't let it roll over and play dead.

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