The Soldotna city council strengthened rules for animal care inside city limits at its meeting last week.
Council member Lisa Parker sponsored the ordinance, after receiving complaints from citizens about pets and other animals in town living under poor conditions. She says city code didn’t provide the city’s animal control officer much guidance when it comes to domestic pets that aren’t being properly cared for.
“As we all know, the animals we have in our house, they’re a part of our family. They are our kids and we should be treating our animals the same way we should be treating our kids.”
The revised section of code focuses on specific issues the city animal control officer can identify as reasons to take action; things like having a clean supply of liquid water and having adequate shelter that’s suitable for either hot summer days or cold winter nights.
The vote taken Thursday night will likely not be the last time the council visits the topic. Council member Justin Ruffridge says he’d like to see a work group or other, more detailed discussion and, potentially, more code revisions that include a mechanism for the city to take immediate action if the safety of an animal is in question.
“I would like to see this fleshed out in a much bigger way, with definitions. There’s a lot I would like to add to this, frankly. This doesn’t seem to include any of the things I think it should. I would like there to be some discussion around removal of animals that are in danger. I don’t see that in here anywhere and I tried to find it in our city code. All I see is the potential for a small fine. Maybe we can have that discussion, because it just doesn’t seem to be enough.”
The council voted unanimously to adopt this round of code changes.