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Dog laws on book lack teeth

Posted: Friday, May 05, 2000

Proposals for dog licensing, mandatory rabies vaccinations and restrictions on free-roaming animals have languished before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Nikiski assembly member Jack Brown said Nikiski, Sterling and Kasilof residents clearly oppose borough animal control.

"The people out here feel that in most cases we have our own animal control," he said. "In most cases, we inform the owners and they take care of it. But if my animals were going next door and destroying property, I'd expect them to get shot."

Even Bill Godek, chief animal control officer for the city of Kenai, questioned whether borough licensing would help. Compliance with Kenai licensing requirements is poor, he said. Nationwide, only 5 percent of dogs are licensed.

Last year, the borough assembly passed an ordinance authorizing the mayor to contract with the cities of Kenai, Homer, Soldotna and Seward to dispose, at the request of Alaska State Troopers, of vicious dogs from outlying areas. The borough would have paid the cities $25,000 each per year. However, the program required agreement from all four cities, and the Soldotna City Council rejected the offer.

Godek said the Kenai City Council might have rejected it, too, if Soldotna had not killed it. The $25,000 would barely cover services the city already provides to rural residents, he said.

"If it did take off, and we did a lot of work with the troopers, it would have hurt our program in the city," he said. "It would have spread us too thin."

Brown said he would not object to borough subsidies for city animal control if there was no rural enforcement attached.

"I think the cities probably are entitled to some money from the borough," he said. "But that should come with no strings attached. We should say, 'This is for what you're already doing for the borough.'"



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