Operating without a license: Legality of animal boarding facility unclear
An animal boarding facility that lost its license back in October is still operating and Anchorage Animal Control Advisory Board member Kari Campbell says Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) is breaking the law in the way it’s handling the case.
AACC denied Coshok’s Canine Castle multi-animal license after an investigation revealed numerous violations of dogs stacked in crates, many without water and living in unsanitary conditions. Coshok’s had 15 days to appeal that denial, which they did. Campbell says according to Title 17, the municipality’s animal laws, the two sides then had 20 days to go to court and let a judge decide. That never happened and Coshok’s is still boarding dogs at its facility.
The facility has “undergone substantial renovation in the effort to enhance health, safety and comfort of all animals boarded with CCC,” said manager Elise Falconer in a statement. “CCC has been working closely with the Municipality of Anchorage, Animal Care and Control Department to update the facility’s commercial license.”
“We saw an improvement,” said AACC spokesperson Laura Atwood. “We saw them moving towards where Title 17 needs them to be.”
Atwood said those improvements — which included renovations to eight kennels, along with management changes — have extended the appeal process.
“They could continue to do business throughout their entire facility throughout this appeals process,” Atwood said. “They have chosen, to their credit, just to do business within those eight renovated kennels.”
“Would they allow a restaurant to stay open with eight tables while the rest of the kitchen and restaurant is closed because of contamination or disease?” questioned Campbell, citing past issues with the deadly Parvovirus at the facility.
Campbell said besides the case not going before a judge within 20 days, AACC and Coshok’s are also breaking the law by communicating during the appeal, something she said they’re not allowed to do, per hearing codes.
“If they appealed, and they did appeal to the appeals office in writing, then they certainly shouldn’t have any contact with animal control,” Campbell said. “But if they didn’t and they just went to animal control and said, ‘hey, we’re making some changes,’ that’s not how the title is laid out.”
She said the two parties making a deal behind closed doors is not in the best interest of the public.
“Who is the voice of the animals?” she asked. “Who is the voice of the consumer who may be taking their dog there, not being made aware that they don’t have an active license?”
Atwood said they are following legal processes and the department’s legal team has been part of the decision-making.
“There are a lot of nuances and it all comes down to that appeals process,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is that these changes have worked towards that safety and well-being of the animals there and brings their facility into compliance with Title 17.”
Campbell said the issue has highlighted some of the weaknesses of Title 17, something she’s working to address, along with the board.
In the meantime, Coshok’s said it’s continuing to renovate and will soon have a new name: Southpaw Kennels. Whether they’ll also have a license remains to be seen.
Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends (AARF) used to board its animals at Coshok’s. The same person ran the rescue and the boarding facility. Coshok’s ended its relationship with AARF and its manager as part of the changes it made.
AARF is now working to raise money for its own facility.
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