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Borough assembly gives first-round approval for animal control rules

The Wrangell Borough Assembly Tuesday unanimously gave a first round of approval to new animal control laws.

After some discussion, the assembly approved a first reading of an ordinance to amend and add sections to Wrangell’s animal code. The changes include stricter leash laws and restraint requirements.

The assembly also unanimously approved a first reading of an ordinance related to changes in fines charged for animal control violations.

said the fee schedule for animal code violations was re-organized, and some fines were changed.

“There were a couple where we actually lowered the fine because the court is now saying you have to pay the surcharge in addition to the fine,” said Police Chief Doug McCloskey. “We’re trying to keep things kind of the way they are without making them really bad, until you get into the third and fourth offense, and then the fines have gone up substantially.”

Borough assembly member Julie Decker said the new animal control fines may not be strict enough.

“Are we serious about making changes and enforcing what we’re going to do? Or are we going to do what we’ve done in the past? Which is just not enforce a lot of those,” Decker said.

The animal control ordinances will go through a public hearing and need to pass a second reading at the next assembly meeting Sept. 9 before they become law.

The borough assembly unanimously agreed to send a letter to congressional delegates expressing concerns related to the construction, development and operation of open-pit mines near the Stikine River watershed in British Columbia. The original suggestion was to send a letter opposing all mining activity, but several assembly members thought that language was too strong.

Borough assembly member Daniel Blake said the tailings dam failure at a Canadian mine earlier this month showed what could happen closer to home. He says fisheries could be negatively impacted by transboundary mining activities.

“If this were to happen, it would completely devastate Wrangell and Petersburg and any other surrounding communities. So I think it’s important that we let our legislators know how we feel about this and what it would do to us if anything like that happened up here,” Blake said.

The assembly also authorized staff to sell city-owned land on Etolin Street through a public bid process. Funds from the sale will go into the residential construction fund.

Bob Maxand was appointed as a member of the Thomas Bay Power Commission with a term expiring in October 2016.

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