At its meeting on Wednesday, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly unanimously adopted an ordinance creating an optional licensing program specifically for sled dog kennels. Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss said after the meeting that the public testimony resembled the Iditarod Hall of Fame, as many area musher spoke in favor of the ordinance. The new ordinance, sponsored by Upper Valley representative Vern Halter, offers some protections for mushers, and includes a number of additional requirements for animal care. Halter owns a sled dog kennel and is an Iditarod veteran.
The ordinance exempts kennels with the special license from borough animal annoyance code, which has some borough residents speaking out on social media. It also puts forth tethering as the recognized means of restraining sled dogs makes it illegal to interfere with legal mushing activities.
Also on Wednesday, the Assembly delayed discussion on changes to the borough’s regulations regarding power plants. The proposed regulations would make it easier for power plants between fifty and one hundred megawatts to be constructed in the borough. That public hearing will now be held on December 16th.