KODIAK — Kodiak Police Department collars its fair share of criminals. As it turns out, it also collars its fair share of canines. And cats.
According to statistics furnished by the police department, almost one in every 25 calls that comes into the department is an animal control call. Of the department’s 12,449 calls for service in fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013), 468 were specifically animal-related.
Statistics showed officers responded to another 271 “animal problems” while on other assignments.
Most of the department’s animal duty falls to its community service officer, who patrols city streets in a labeled truck.
Beginning in October, that officer will have a partner — a second community service officer hired as part of the $109,000 contract between the city and borough. That contract has not yet been approved by the borough assembly, but funding for the contract was budgeted this spring during the borough budget process.
According to plans, one officer will work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The second will be on duty from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday.
That schedule guarantees an animal officer on duty seven days per week, something that may answer the gripes of Kodiak residents on Facebook.
Last year, KPD impounded 123 animals at the Kodiak Animal Shelter, which receives city funding for its work. One hundred and forty-five animals dropped off at the shelter were reclaimed by their owners, a figure that covers police impounds and animals dropped off by the public.
Another 191 animals were adopted by members of the public.
Officers issued 17 animal-related citations last year, a figure that may rise with two dedicated officers on duty.
On days with two officers, one will be dedicated to work beyond city limits. When only one officer is on duty, that person will split time between the city and borough.
The police department is expected to monitor the volume and timing of animal calls over the next few months and may adjust the schedule.
A detailed breakdown of the department’s statistics shows that almost a third of its calls last year were bear complaints between October and December.
With ample wild food on hand after a mild summer, this fall’s bear problem is not expected to be as large as last year’s.