Who does have responsibility to act when animals aren't cared for?

Posted: Thursday, December 04, 2003

I was reading your article about proper care of pets in the cold winter months and how dangerous it is to leave pets out in the open in cold weather. That is all very good information, but I'm wondering what can be done about people who are seriously neglecting their pets.

I'm referring to the abandoned house at approximately Mile 16 of the North Road. I was informed by a friend of the animals at this location who apparently were abandoned. When I drove by I saw six dogs, two of which were puppies, and two cats who were left out in the open. Some of the animals were chained, without food or water. I reported this to the animal control but was told that, as it was out of the city limits, they could do nothing. I then reported it to the Alaska State Troopers who did respond, but said they had no authority to do anything.

Between the time I called and the time the trooper arrived, a pack of six more dogs appeared and started fighting with each other, then they threw themselves at my car leaving a bloody smear on the side of the car. The "pets" at this location were at the mercy of this dog pack and one of them was ultimately injured.

I was told by the trooper that he would "handle" the dog problem. Also, the trooper said that the neighbors had to shoot some of these dogs recently, as they were a danger to the neighborhood . This trooper was not authorized to remove the animals. All the animals were left there and he departed.

I would like to know what can be done about a situation like this and who would have the authority to intervene. Apparently the local SPCA person had been out to the house and determined that the animals, while living in extremely less than adequate living conditions, were not malnourished, therefore the SPCA would not do anything.

Per your article, throwing out a handful of dry dog food on the ground would not be considered proper care. As the temperatures drop, this situation becomes dangerous for these animals. Hopefully someone who does have " authority" will do something about this situation before these animals start dying off.

Kathleen Foster


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