Time for borough to enforce animal welfare standards

In response to Nancy Whiting’s letter to the Clarion concerning the current “animal control” issue; she needs to understand that Alaska has state laws covering the minimum standards of animal care that citizens of Alaska must follow. There are many animals that are blessed to have caring owners that follow these laws and even far exceed these laws. Sadly there are many domestic animals that are not blessed with such a loving owner.

Ms. Whiting, in her letter, cautioned the reader not to “…get sentimental about the situation…because it’s easy to be distracted from reality when the issue is about children or puppies.” The reality is there are puppies chained tightly to trees with no shelter from the elements, no water or food, shown by their ribs sticking out from mange infected skin. There are horses with hip bones cutting through their skin with maggots crawling throughout the wounds and kittens with oozing eyes and skinny bodies crying for even a morsel of food and a warm and safe place to rest. This is the reality for many domestic animals living in this borough.

Let’s not forget the children. The link between violence against children and animals is clear. Animal abuse is often the first visible sign of child or spousal abuse. According the Animal Legal Defense Fund “abusers of animals are five times as likely to harm humans.” The American Humane Association along with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that “… between 71 percent-83 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterers had injured or killed the family pets.” Seventy percent of known animal abusers also have records for other crimes.

This resolution will only enforce the state law that currently exists. Nothing more; nothing less. It doesn’t include leash and licensing laws, excessive barking, dogs getting into your garbage, etc., just the minimum standards of care already on the books.

I’ve heard that the troopers deal with “animal” issues so we don’t need this. Troopers are supposed to deal with “animal” issues but the truth is they respond to very few “animal” calls due to lack of time and manpower. I’ve been told the troopers respond to every call they get. They don’t! I have personally called the troopers requesting help and I’m told they won’t come. Currently it’s up to individuals to help on their own. Sadly it’s not enough.

Other boroughs in Alaska, similar in size to Kenai, have borough wide animal control. Why do naysayers feel that our borough doesn’t have to provide animal welfare? Why should we be exempt? Why are you so fearful of the borough stepping up to the plate and enforcing state law?

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” — Immanuel Kant

Vote yes, for limited animal control on October 7th.