Let’s get together and find a better solution

by Shawna Noratak

“There are incredible examples of the loyalty dogs have shown to their human and animal friends. Think of Hawkeye, the dog who lay down next to the casket of his Navy SEAL owner in grief. Or Hachiko, the Akita who greeted his owner at the train station every day when he returned home from work and after the owner suddenly died, returned to the train station at the same time every day for nine years,” said Cesar Millan in The Loyalty of Dogs. “Some people would say dogs are loyal just because they depend on us for food and shelter, so they have to be nice to us. But when you see how dogs react when their humans and canine friends come back after they’ve been gone for a long time or when they don’t come back at all, you know it’s about more than food.”

My dogs have been my most loyal friends and constant companions. I’ve always known that Max, Blue, or Ginger or one of my other pack members was always there for me. They didn’t care about whether I was popular, rich, or poor. They just loved me for me. And I love them. The friendship between man and dog has gone back thousands of years. Dogs didn’t become “man’s best friend” for no reason. They give us unconditional love every day. My question is, do we deserve it? I see dogs being mistreated, dogs being made to fight, dogs being overbred for profit, dogs being killed because they don’t have homes. Dogs being killed by your very own village public safety officers right in front of your kids’ school, your local clinic, and five steps away from your very own home where your baby lies down playing.

I love listening to the stories of our grandpas, uncles, and former ancestors having dog teams to travel, hunt, and survive. I still wonder what it was like in those days…I have pictures of my uncle and his friend with their dog team back in the 90’s. Back when the local city council didn’t introduce a new rule that encourages people to kill family dogs right outside your home. When I was around eight years old, a family member used to put me in the sled, and our family dog would pull me around town. I got a new pit bull in the last year or so, ohhh, she just so loves us and the whole neighborhood would knock and ask if she could play out. When she moved to our other family, the children missed her! Now whenever these 6 year olds see me, they say that they miss her. It’s the little things in life that keep you going. It’s the little things in life that make you feel good about yourself and life.

A friend of mine has a German shepherd. At first, I was scared of the dog, but after a week, she is the kindest, loving animal I have ever met! The owner eats with her, runs with her, works with her, even drives to church with her, and believes me; the dog looks forward to Sundays. My point is, these dogs have hearts that keep them breathing, just like humans do. These dogs are our family members.

In the last few years, our State of Alaska made Law Enforcement Policies to protect our animals. Alaska Stat 03.553.110 (2013)

(a) A person who believes that cruelty to animals has taken place or is taking place may file a complaint with a public or private animal control agency or organization, the department, or a peace officer. An agency of organization or the department may refer the complaint to peace officer.

(b) A peace officer who receives a complaint of animal cruelty may apply for a search warrant under AS 12.35 to the judicial officer in the judicial district in which the alleged violation has taken place or is taking place. If the court finds that probable cause exists, the court shall issue a search warrant directing a peace officer to proceed immediately to the location of the alleged violation, search the place designated in the warrant, and if warranted, take property, including animals, specified in the warrant. The warrant shall be executed by the peace officer and returned to the court.

(c) Before a peace officer may take an animal and place it into protective custody, the peace officer shall request an immediate inspection and decision by a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98 that placement into protective custody is in the immediate best interest of the animal. If a vet is not available to perform an inspection, before a peace officer may take an animal, the peace offer shall communicate with a veterinarian who has, after hearing a description of the condition of the animal and its environment, decided it is in the immediate best interest of the animal that it be placed into protective custody. If the peace officer is not able to communicate with a veterinarian, before the officer may take an animal, the officer shall decide it is in the immediate best interest of the animal that it be placed into protective custody. For purposes of this section “peace officer” means

(1) An officer of the state troopers

(2) A member of the police force of a municipality

(3) A village public safety officer; or

(4) A regional public safety officer

But what do you do when your very own municipality, your very own public safety workers or council are the ones allowing animals to be killed to death, and not given any other way out? Come on people, these are innocent animals that are being killed daily, weekly, monthly. I don’t know about you, but since when is it okay to hurt another God created being? We need to get together as a community and find a better solution. There are other healthier and happier options available.