Code committee animal statute review ongoing

Borough officials continued a review of borough animal codes June 26.

The meeting focused on extensive additions to definitions and enforcement while past meetings had focused on issues of licensure for dogs. Under the draft

ordinance reviewed at the last meeting, the licensing period would be extended from one to two years, fees to obtain a license would be doubled from $5 to $10, and the rubric for repeat offenders would be changed.

The additions discussed June 26 would legally define, for the first time, 25 terms ranging from “abandon” to “potentially dangerous and dangerous domestic animals,” and would add 21 sections of borough code, while removing five existing sections.

In total, the changes comprise about 10 printed pages of additional material, as well as smaller changes to numbering resulting from the addition of new sections. Based on discussion at that meeting, it is unlikely that all the changes will be recommended to the assembly.

For example, a few considered provisions are already defined or handled by other sections of existing borough code, said Mayor David Jack.

“I personally can’t see the point in creating another ordinance when it’s already covered under something else, such as the nuisance,” he said. “If an animal’s causing a nuisance, then take care of it under the nuisance ordinance. I don’t think we need one in the animals section. Just refer to it under the nuisance.”

Other changes would create redundancies between borough ordinance and Alaska law.

Two sections of codes govern animals living within the borough. The section under review at the code review committee meeting pertains specifically to animals. Additional ordinance sections under the borough’s zoning laws create allowances for animal establishments and the ordinances conflict at times.

For example, animals are defined under Title 7 as “Domesticated nonhuman members of the kingdom animalia,” which differs from the zoning ordinances by exactly one word, according to Economic Development Officer Carol Rushmore.

“The one here has ‘domesticated,’” she said. “The one in the planning and zoning just says ‘all nonhuman members of the kingdom animalia.’”

Other discussion focused on whether an animal enclosure would need to be locked. Officials should change “locked” to “secured,” said police chief Doug McCloskey.

“You may not have a lock on it, so to speak, but every chicken won’t figure out how to do a latch, either,” he said jokingly.

After the committee – which takes no formal votes – agrees to which of the numerous possible additions to remove or alter, a proposed ordinance would head to the borough assembly for first and second readings before being enacted.


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