FAIRBANKS — People caught killing loose pets without cause in Fairbanks face new fines that were passed after several animal deaths.
The borough assembly voted 7-1 to fine people $500 for a first animal cruelty violation and $1,000 for a second offense, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Anyone who kills a pet could also be fined $100 if they take longer than a day to notify the owner or animal control.
Killing animals in self-defense is exempted.
The change comes after a dog was shot to death in the Goldstream Valley in December. The owners and the shooter disagree on what may have caused the shooting, and Alaska State Troopers are not investigating.
“It’s my understanding that the Alaska State Troopers aren’t necessarily actively enforcing these incidents whether it’s staffing, insufficient evidence or other reasons,” said Assemblyman Andrew Gray. “But if the borough has an option of an animal cruelty code, this gives people another route even if it’s a violation.”
Gray and Presiding Officer Kathryn Dodge wrote the ordinance.
Assemblyman Lance Roberts voted no and said the feel-good ordinance was unenforceable.
“We have this bad thing happen and all these other tragedies mentioned, and we’re going to create a law that doesn’t actually solve the problem or do anything and we’re not going to be able to enforce it with the powers we have,” Roberts said. “People are going to feel good because they thought we did something. I don’t think we need to fill our code with a lot of feel-good statutes.”
A borough code rewrite removed a previous law against killing animals outside of hunting, trapping, self-defense or humane deaths.
“It’s not going to be prevent all the crime from happening, everybody understand that, but what it does do is set a standard of behavior we expect them to follow,” said Assemblyman John Davies. “And in those particularly egregious situations, it provides a tool to address the bad circumstances, and I feel that’s what the people in Goldstream Valley felt. There wasn’t a standard in place; we had taken it off the books.”