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Ordinance: drop-off cages at animal shelter, not contract facility

Architectural concept drawing of proposed FNSB Animal Shelter.
Architectural concept drawing of proposed FNSB Animal Shelter.

An ordinance before the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly next week, would ensure there are after hours drop off cages at the borough animal shelter.

Guidelines from the Association of Shelter Veterinarians say unmonitored drop-off cages are no longer acceptable practice, and animal shelters across the country are eliminating them due to safety concerns. But Alaskans want a heated place to drop off stray dogs and cats when the shelter is closed – generally at night.

Three months ago, the Assembly passed an ordinance requiring safe facilities for animals to be dropped-off when the borough’s animal shelter is closed. It allowed for contracts with overnight veterinary or rescue services.

But an amending ordinance now before the assembly would require after-hours drop-off cages be located at the Borough shelter, rather than a contracted place. The amending measure is sponsored by assembly members Nick LaJiness and Liz Reeves-Ramos, who introduced it to the Assembly at a committee meeting last night.

“My intent is to have the emergency 24 hour drop off at the Borough Shelter Facility.”

“So, you would have either a tender, you know, rather than spending, uh, you know, $150,000 on a contract, you could, you know, then employ, you know, a tender that could be on call or an officer that could be on call.”

The animal shelter drop-off cages are currently available at the shelter on Davis Road, but unattended when the facility is closed at night and on Sundays. The original ordinance allowed for contracts with veterinarians or rescue groups to take animals at other after-hours places. Reeves-Ramos said she wants the public to only one central point for drop-offs.

Member Scott Crass asked Reeves-Ramos if the amending ordinance required borough employees to be at the shelter over night.

“Would it be alright if, if contractors were used to staff the borough facility?” 

“I don't see a problem with that, no.”

The amending ordinance does not provide funding to staff after hours drop off.

The Animal Control department has added afrequently asked questions pagefor the new construction and, the borough is hosting an open house for the proposed new animal shelter building, on Wednesday, March 13 at Pioneer Park’s Civic Center. There will be a presentation at 5:30 and staff will be available for questions until 7:00 p.m.

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.