The regular meeting of the borough assembly was Tuesday, April 22. It discussed animal control issues in Wrangell.
Assembly member Daniel Blake says Wrangell has an issue with animals.
“Well as far as the animal control issues are concerned, I think we have a significant problem with it at this time,” says Blake.
Blake says he’s seen a lot of discussion recently on Wrangell social media sites about animal problems in town.
It’s covered everything from loose dogs attacking people on the street to dogs running in front of cars and nearly causing accidents.
One issue brought up in public comment was the fact that dog feces in public places can contribute to the spread of disease. That’s relevant given the recent parvo outbreak on the island.
Blake says that many of the animal control codes in place are not realistically enforceable as they currently stand.
He cites a lack of specific training for law enforcement as part of the issue.
“The current police officers are not trained to be animal control officers. That takes specialized training. They’re also not equipped to be animal control officers. They don’t have a truck with a kennel in the back of it to transport. They don’t have catch sticks or gloves or any of those kind of things to protect themselves from a vicious dog or even a sick dog for that matter,” says Blake.
He said that a part time animal control officer could be a solution. But, that would require funding from the city.
Blake says one of the specific changes he’d like to see is a strengthening of the leash law in town. But, he says, that may require some re-imagining of the law when it comes to more secluded spots.
“With us being a city and borough where we have a large area to cover and a lot of it is rural, I think it’s unrealistic to expect somebody that’s out the road someplace to have to keep their dog on a leash all the time. But, I do think it’s reasonable to expect that they would be with the dog and at least have the leash available so that if a problem came up they could put the dog on a leash,” says Blake.
That could potentially be written in as a leash-in-hand provision to a general leash law.
The assembly agreed to look into the issue of animal control at its future meetings.
For full disclosure, Shady Grove Oliver spoke as a private citizen on the issue of animal control during the public comment period.