Fairbanks borough to consider animal cruelty ordinance

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks North Star Borough will consider a proposal that would make intentionally neglecting, harming or killing a healthy animal illegal.

 

The measure drafted by borough assembly members Kathryn Dodge and Andrew Gray will be introduced Thursday. It comes after community members complained of their dogs being shot last year and questioned authorities’ response to the incidents.

The latest incident came in December when two brothers, ages 12 and 13, shot a sled dog after reportedly mistaking the animal for a wolf. The boys didn’t violate local laws and state law doesn’t prohibit shooting a loose dog on public lands, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Borough animal cruelty laws that made it a misdemeanor to intentionally kill animals unless for hunting and in self-defense situations were removed in 2013.

Dodge said she thinks the rules were dropped because of overlap with state animal cruelty laws, but that there are still gaps in the state’s approach to animal cruelty enforcement. She said the new ordinance will help the borough fill in those gaps.

Under the ordinance, encouraging animals to fight, poisoning them, abandoning them, torturing them, killing animals and neglecting them represent a violation of borough code. Violators would get a warning on the first offense before receiving a ticket.

The proposal also requires people who kill another person’s animal, even by accident, to notify the owner.

The measure would not apply to hunting, trapping, putting down an animal in extreme pain and humane destruction of one’s own animal. Accepted farming and animal husbandry practices would also be exempt.

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