ANCHORAGE — Loose dogs are a serious problem in a northwest Alaska town where a 5-year-old boy was mauled to death by at least one loose canine, according to the mayor.
Jordan Lee Reed was found dead early Sunday in field on the outskirts of Kotzebue, the Anchorage Daily News reported. He was reported missing Saturday night.
Police said the boy had been playing in front of his family’s home that evening.
Kotzebue Mayor Nathan Kotch said loose dogs have been an increasing problem in the town of about 3,200 people.
The City Council recently tightened an existing animal control ordinance out of concerns about aggressive dogs roaming around town in groups of two or three. Some animals have escaped from the dog lots of local mushers, and others are pets that are not being watched by their owners, Kotch said.
People have been complaining that children are not safe walking to school and back, according to Kotch. There is only one animal control officer in town, he said.
“We were all dreading something like this happening,” he said. “We talked about it when we passed the ordinance.”
The revised ordinance requires people with dogs on a vicious breeds list to carry insurance for their animals and to keep them securely penned in yards. It also imposes stiff fines on people who violate the rules. The ordinance took effect a couple of months ago.
The police chief has gotten on the radio to emphasize the importance of responsible dog ownership, Kotch said.
The boy’s body was found at 4:10 a.m. Sunday. Police said it’s believed the boy was killed by at least one loose dog. Several loose dogs in the area were captured, and one of them was determined to have been involved in the mauling, police said.
Police have not said what kind of breed or breeds were involved in the mauling.
Members of the boy’s family told the Daily News the family is asking for time to grieve in private.
Kotch said he was horrified by the death. He said the City Council will revisit the issue of dangerous dogs running around loose.
“You can bet that’s the first thing were going to talk about,” he said.