Bethel Council Under Pressure to Enforce Leash Law

by Daysha Eaton on May 14, 2014

A logo from Bethel Friends of Canines facebook page.

A logo from Bethel Friends of Canines facebook page.

The Bethel City Council passed a resolution to enforce their leash law at Tuesday’s meeting. Citizens urged the city to do more to keep dogs from getting hit by cars.

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Penny DogJoan Dewey with Bethel Friends of Canines stood before the Council with a rust-colored husky-mix named Penny at her side. Penny was hit by a car earlier this year in City Subdivision, Dewey said, and had to have

a leg amputated. Dewey said Penny was an example of what happens when people do not kennel or leash dogs.

“It averages about every two weeks that a dog is either hit, hit by a motor vehicle, sometimes there are shootings. Sometimes there are both. It’s only a matter of time before we have another tragic outcome, which is a child being hit by a motor vehicle following a dog. This is all one-hundred percent preventable if we were all using leashes,” said Dewey.

Nicholas Kwiek is fostering Penny, the three-legged dog. He says the city just needs to enforce their law that passed in 2011.

“We have a law requiring it, why don’t we just enforce that law. Start handing out leashes. Have the other officers hand out leashes. Have people tie up their dogs so the dogs aren’t running in the roads, the dogs aren’t chasing other peoples’ dogs. Another tangential thing that you could do also is complete the dog park that we were promised last summer. That would give us a place to let our dogs run without leashes where they’re not goonna run into the road to be chased by kids to be hit by cars,” said Kwiek.

The former city manager proposed setting aside land and money ($13,000) for a dog park near the Lion’s Club last year but the funds were not in the budget.

Council member Leif Albertson says he doesn’t like the leash law because it makes dog owners who take their dog out on the tundra, within Bethel’s large city limits, law-breakers. The resolution passed 5 to 2, with Council Members Albertson and Eric Whitney in opposition.

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