Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/25/2003 09:06 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 147 "An Act relating to control of nuisance wild animals; and providing for an effective date." This was the second hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance Committee. Co-chair Wilken stated that this bill addresses nuisance animals and is sponsored by Co-chair Green. MATT ROBUS, Acting Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game provided answers to questions asked in the first hearing on this bill by communicating that the Department currently has regulations to address situations involving large animals such as moose or bear through the Department's ability to issue public safety permits, Defense of Life and Property permits, and scientific permits. In addition, he stated that permits could be issued to "a responsible individual" were an enforcement official unavailable. Mr. Robus stressed; however, "that the one thing not covered currently" through regulations are small animals and birds whose actions are creating nuisance problems including such things as birds eating grain crops or an ermine harming someone's house. He continued that this legislation would provide the Department the authority to address these types of issues. Senator Hoffman asked whether there is a need for provisions to address the disposal of these small animals; particularly the salvage of the meat or the disposal of the remains. Mr. Robus informed that provisions are usually included in the permit for meat salvaging of large animals, and where small animals or birds are concerned, the Department attempts to be flexible and to appropriately take care of, for example, a fur-bearing animal whose hide could be salvaged. Furthermore, he mentioned that in the case of a food animal, provisions are included to allow the taker to either use it for individual use or provide it to an organization that provides food to other people. However, he noted that when a situation arises in which salvaging of the meat or fur is not an option or conditions would not allow for salvage, the flexibility to handle situations on a case-by-case basis is requested in this legislation. Senator Hoffman voiced that most people would willingly salvage the meat, and he questioned whether a provision requiring salvage would be necessary. Senator Olson asked how this legislation would address a situation wherein an animal or bird is not a nuisance but rather poses a threat to, for instance, a private pilot or to national security by it presence on a private or military airport runway. Mr. Robus replied that this issue is addressed currently by the Department's ability to issue public safety permits. However, he noted that this existing authority includes threats posed by small animals. Amendment #1: This amendment inserts "and subject to AS 16.30.010" after the word "Act" on page 3, line 20. Senator Olson moved for adoption of Amendment #1. Co-Chair Wilken objected for explanation. Senator Olson shared that muskox in the Nome area present a danger to airports during the animals' rutting season. He noted that this amendment addresses the issue of wanton waste, and he exclaimed that, "if you shoot it, and kill it, you better eat it." Senator Olson withdrew the amendment. Senator Taylor moved to report the bill from Committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, SB 147 was REPORTED from Committee with previous fiscal note #1 from the Department of Fish and Game. AT EASE 9:29 AM / 9:29 AM Co-Chair Wilken introduced visiting Juneau Boy Scout Troop 11 consisting of SHAUN NESHEIM, KYLE KAHKLEN, CARLETON SHOREY, ALEX BOTELHO, TREVOR LARSEN, and BRUCE BOTELHO, Boy Scout Troop 11 Leader. Mr. Botelho announced that the scouts are working on the Boy Scout Citizenship Award.