Animals dominated June news at ALO. Wizard, a young sled dog from Apex Kennel, owned by Jake and Robin Berkowtiz, made statewide headlines throughout the month. (See ADN article, and Alaska Dispatch) after the Matsu Borough decided he should be destroyed after biting a two year old girl in his dog yard. The bite was a bad one, and it resulted from a careless move on the part of the child's mother who was walking another dog through the dog yard and lost track of her two young children who were far behind her.
Wizard broke his chain and attacked the child a few feet from his dog house. The legal challenge was to convince the Matsu Borough that the dog was provoked by the presence of the child and the strange dog in the middle of the yard. Three votes were needed to destroy the dog, and only two of the four voters agreed. But the Borough asked for reconsideration and the owners decided to voluntarily put the dog down instead of leaving him in quarantine for months or years into the future.
The case caused lots of comment online, in letters to the editor, and on talk shows. Most supported Jake and his dog, but the Matsu Borough wasn't listening. Apparently about 1700 people signed a petition to spare the dog. Many suggested the mother should be charged with criminal negligence. It is unknown if a civil suit will be filed. If it is, a Matsu jury will be asked to determine who is at fault for this horrible incident. ALO established pretty clearly who was at fault during the hearings, and that is not likely to change.
Two civil cases from Nome settled in June. One involved a routine car accident and the other involved police misconduct. ALO's client in that case was at her own home after an argument with her husband. The neighbors called the police but the husband left the area before they arrived. The cop decided to check inside the house, without being invited. He observed the lady sitting quietly on the couch, and she asked him to leave. He didn't and she told him a few more times before throwing a small dish at him. He arrested her for felony assault on an officer, and roughed her up in the process, including the use of a taser. The criminal case was quickly dismissed, and the city paid an appropriate amount for the police behavior.
Speaking of police work, this short video shows some fine police work in Detroit.
The Allen River dam project is still a problem. The supporters of the project would really like to spend the $10,000,000 study money they were given, but can't do so without a permit. But this summer the State is giving them a chance to do some helicopter landings in spite of the Park rules. That will draw some response from ALO and others, to be sure. Here are a couple of good articles about hydro projects, one in the Alaska Dispatch the other in Forbes that suggest part of the problem with the Allen River plan.
Flooding on the Yukon River at Galena displaced Dolly's grandmother, and she made the news as a result. She is on the left in this photo from the Anchorage paper.
Lots of wildlife shots this month, but first an account of moose in Bethel. Nightly walks have revealed lots of tracks, including a mom and baby near Hangar Lake. A recent flight revealed the mother moose near the lake, but instead of one baby she had two. Many more have been sighted within a few miles of town. This is a success story for local Fish and Game folks who asked for a closed season for a while to build the population, and it worked. This is the best moose shot of the month but not from Bethel.
These musk ox were seen across the river from Bethel on the old airport.
Finally, three bear shots. This one wandered into Dave Price's yard next to the elk farm in Minnesota.
This family showed up in a Wisconsin yard.
This video was supplied by webmaster Rich Gannon. It has a surprise ending.