Under new city rule, beasts may become bigger burden

Posted: Monday, February 07, 2000

``Objectionable animals'' could cost their owners bigger fines if a new ordinance passes Juneau Assembly muster tonight. Barking, snapping and chasing beasts could fetch their keepers fines of up to $200, and even a mandatory court appearance.

At its Jan. 3 meeting, the assembly directed the city attorney to prepare an ordinance imposing more stringent penalties for pet owners' failure to control their animals.

Currently, offending pet owners can be saddled with a $25 fine for the first offense, $50 for the second and a court appearance for the third.

Wayne Lyons, animal control director at Gastineau Humane Society, said he doubted the increased penalty would have much effect.

``It might for a few offenders,'' he said. ``But I don't think it's going to make our job easier or anything easier for people affected'' by problem animals.

Currently, residents complaining about barking dogs must provide animal control with recordings of the offending animals taken over a period of time.

City Attorney John Corso said the ordinance before the assembly tonight does not address that process. However, he has been communicating with the Gastineau Humane Society to establish more workable solutions for people afflicted with neighbors' noisy dogs, he said.

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