Borough regulations related to noisy animals are likely to change, but how exactly they will change has not yet been determined.
During a very short Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting Monday, Assistant Borough Manager Deanna Thomas gave an update on the borough’s review of regulations for animal control.
She said the animal noise section of the code, as written, is ineffective.
“We need an animal to make noise for 10 consecutive minutes, which doesn’t sound like much but animals tend to breathe,” she said. “And while most people would argue that a dog is making noise for 10 consecutive minutes, surprisingly they actually do stop. And we also have to prove that there was no bear or deer or anything else in the general vicinity that may have upset the animal, (which is) very difficult to prove.”
Thomas said staff plans to bring two options to the assembly to consider. The first would change the code in order to strengthen enforcement. The second would eliminate the language completely. That would mean any animal-noise complaints would be referred to local law enforcement.
Thomas said the borough has contacted Alaska State Troopers and the Ketchikan Police Department for input. They’ve also asked local animal welfare groups to weigh in.
“We just wanted to give you a heads up that this is coming down the road and will likely generate quite a bit of discussion. So: You’re welcome,” she said, prompting laughter.
Some assembly members said they’d already received calls from the public on that topic.
Monday’s assembly meeting lasted about half an hour. Borough Mayor David Landis was absent, as was Assembly Member Sue Pickrell and Borough Manager Ruben Duran. Assembly Member Rodney Dial participated by phone.