Two new city laws dealing with animals earned final approval Tuesday night from the Sitka Assembly.
The Assembly voted unanimously to ban dogs from a brand new baseball diamond. Moller Field was recently refurbished with artificial turf. City officials say dogs – especially when they dig or leave behind their waste – can damage that turf.
The ordinance approved last night only pertains to Moller. An earlier version included the Kimsham ballfield complex, but that was taken out for further consideration after strong objections from residents.
Resident David Durham testified against the Moller Field ordinance. He said the city should penalize owners who are irresponsible rather than people who simply have leashed dogs on the field. And he called the $300 fine “ludicrous.”
Service animals are exempt from the ban.
Bears and garbage
The Assembly also dealt with bears. They’re often drawn into neighborhoods by smelly garbage. And city code requires homeowners to keep their bear-attracting trash out of reach from bears until trash day. Up until now, Sitka police were required to issue a warning to violators on their first offense.
The change approved Tuesday would allow police to immediately write a $150 ticket. A second offense would bring a $300 ticket. No one testified about the measure last night, and it easily passed.
Both the bear ordinance and the dog ban go into effect within 30 days.