An ordinance that would remove provisions for off-leash exercise of animals on Weiss Fields is up for consideration by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly Monday night. The primary purpose of the field, located adjacent to North Point Higgins School, is for baseball and softball team use.
Borough code requires that dogs be leashed on all Borough parks or athletic fields — with the exception of Weiss Fields. The exemption, adopted in 2018, allows for off-leash exercise and training when the field is not in use for organized team play or practice or reserved for use. The ordinance also increased fees for failure to remove fecal matter, hoping the hiked fine would prompt owners to clean up after their pets. It did not.
The borough solicited public input and published the 2020 Field Usage and Development Study. For Weiss Fields, a “field free of dog poop” was among their two highest priorities. Borough staff say they have stopped fertilizing the field out of concern for dogs that play on it.
In a phone interview with KRBD, Borough Public Works Director Morgan Barry says the intent of the proposed ordinance is not to prohibit all use by dog owners. He says because of the way the 2018 ordinance was written, it allows use by dog owners most of the time, and limits the ability for the manager to set rules for the field.
Barry says new rules for dogs on Weiss Fields are a work-in-progress and the borough is seeking public input.
If the ordinance is adopted by the assembly, borough staff would draft rules of conduct for the manager’s consideration. Barry says those would clarify times and limits on the use of Weiss Fields for off-leash exercise.
In other business, the Assembly is scheduled to meet in executive session to discuss terms of a contract with Borough Manager Ruben Duran. The contract has been under negotiation for months. Additional details were not available.
Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Borough Assembly Chambers in the White Cliff Building. Public comment will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.