A recent incident at the Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) facility has officials concerned the wrong kind of creature is going into the after-hours drop-off kennels: humans.
A young man and his mother were recently looking for their lost dog and stopped by AACC, which had already closed for the day.
“In their concern for their dog, the young man went inside one of our kennels, hoping to be able to see if his dog was in there and the door shut behind him,” explained Laura Atwood, a staff member and spokeswoman for AACC.
Anchorage police, who have access to AACC, freed the man.
Atwood said this isn’t the first time it’s happened, either. Another man was trapped inside one of the kennels last fall, and a staff member let him out.
“In that case, the door was shut on him by the person he was with as a joke,” Atwood explained.
Atwood said the doors to the large and small overnight kennels lock automatically.
“That is so that if someone puts a dog in there, somebody else can’t come along, open that door again and now the dog is loose,” she said. “So they lock for security purposes.”
While AACC understands owners of missing pets want to find their animals, Atwood said crawling into the empty kennels to check the others won’t help.
“There are concrete walls between the three dog kennels. So all you’re going to see is the locked gate at the end of the kennel that you are now locked in,” she said. “We want to make sure it doesn’t happen to somebody who doesn’t have a cell phone on them.”
Atwood said the facility plans on adding signage above each door, saying they are for animals only and that they will lock.
“We understand your concern, we know you’re anxious. You want to know if your dog is safe,” she added. “But please just wait until we open in the morning.”
AACC opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. on weekends. The AACC website is also updated regularly with recent drop-offs and found animals, so pet owners can check there as well.
KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble contributed to this report.