Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Hatchery operation benefits only commercial fisheries

The setnet commercial fishing started early again this year (June 25) and, yes, there have been emergency openers (June 28 and 30 and July 8) already in the Kasilof section.

Late run Kasilof and Kenai king salmon are being devastated by this practice. This is because of the strong numbers of sockeye salmon passing the counters at the Sterling Highway bridge.

Why are there strong numbers of sockeyes returning to the Kasilof year after year? Can it be that the commercial fisheries have a weir on Bear Creek where they take sockeye eggs and and hatch them and return them to Bear Creek that runs into Tustumena Lake that runs into the Kasilof River? Did you know that this area is in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge?

Can it be that the reason for emergency orders to open setnetting in the Kasilof section is because of this commercial hatchery operating in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge? This operation is purely for enhancement of the commercial fisheries pocket.

How a national wildlife refuge can allow such a practice is beyond me. Something must be done about this practice or king fishing as we know it today will be a thing of the past.

Gary Lindstrom


Elected officials should set good safety example -- even in parades

I enjoyed the Fourth of July parade and was pleased to see the participation of so many firefighters, police, musicians, businesses and social service groups.

I was disappointed, however, to see the blatant disregard for safety exhibited by many parade participants. The Kenai mayor's car passed me with two young children playing in the backseat. They were not secured in car seats or age-appropriate booster seats or even a basic seat belt.

According to the office of the governor, accidental injury is the number one cause of death for Alaska children and teens, and the injury fatality rate for children and youth exceeds the U.S. rate by 60 percent. A full 10 percent of new mothers in Alaska do not use a car seat for their newborns.

Car seats save children's lives. Car seat use is the law in Alaska as in every other state. If we can't look to our elected officials to obey the law and set a good safety example, how can we expect ordinary citizens to do so?

Kristin Mitchell


What should be done with dog that attacks, injures child?

Two 10-year-old girls were playing at a Nikiski area apartment complex. Suddenly there was a dog running at them. The girl facing the dog yelled, "DOG," and ran for the steps to her house. The little girl playing with her turned around just in time to see a snarling, teeth-barring dog running at her.

As her friend stood screaming on the steps, the dog leaped at the other girl. She put her arm up in front of her and the dog buried its teeth into her skin. The dog threw the little girl on the ground and shook her viciously until the bone in her arm was broken and sticking through her skin. The little girl was able to get away from the dog at some point and run toward the house with the dog chasing behind her. The dog suddenly turned, and the girl was able to go inside for help.

The ambulance came and the hospital in Soldotna sent the frightened, hurt little girl on the Lifeguard helicopter to Providence in Anchorage for surgery.

After three days in the hospital and five days on an IV for antibiotic treatment at home, (the dog's teeth crushed into the bone so infection was a huge concern) the little girl was recovering. The stitches were taken out of her arm a week later.

The little girl was in quite a bit of pain during the whole ordeal. She will be in a cast for months. If all heals well she will be back in working order by the time school starts. She is a brave, sweet girl that was attacked by an unprovoked dog.

The question remains: What do you do with a dog that attacks a child?

The Alaska State Trooper couldn't shoot it because some "nice man" tied it to a light post. So it was taken to the animal shelter in Kenai where it served jail time of 10 days for its offense. At the end of 10 days, it was released to the owner and allowed to continue its life of crime.

Why wasn't it put down? It had never bitten anyone before.

Well, now that it has not only bitten, but jumped on and mangled a little girl's arm, it has been trusted to remain in the care of the people who were not able to control the dog to begin with.

If a dog so much as chases a moose (even out in north Kenai), the owner can be fined for the dog's actions. Why aren't our children given the same consideration as wildlife? Who in their right mind would take a dog that attacks -- unprovoked -- back into the home with other children?

As the mother of the child attacked, I am asking that this dog be put down before someone else is hurt. As the owner of a large dog similar in breed to the dog that attacked, I defend the "good dogs" among them.

I cannot think of one reason for allowing a dog with a vicious temperament to go free. I would be happy to hear the opinions of others; please send e-mail to Moni@gci.net

Monica Fox


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