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Eagle River Garbage Bear Shooting Highlights Property Code

Published On: Nov 04 2013 08:41:34 AM AKST
Eagle River Garbage Bear Shooting Highlights Property Code

The shooting of a brown bear in an Eagle River neighborhood Wednesday is drawing attention to what officials have called its ultimate cause -- the garbage which drew the bear, left out by owners whose homes aren't up to municipal code.

The bear, which was shot by an Alaska Wildlife Trooper, led to two residents of the area receiving $310 citations for negligent feeding of game. Anchorage officials say their home and similar residences pose a public safety risk.

"The reason that code is there it to make our city a good place to live," said Sharen Walsh, the Municipality of Anchorage's deputy director of development. "We don't want to have trash and garbage around: besides being unsightly, it can be dangerous."

One of the cited homeowners says people don't see the circumstances behind her mess. Karen is a disabled elderly woman with a limited income. She says when you don't have money there are certain things that go by the wayside, and she says she needs help.

Walsh says dealing with residents like Karen who ignore citations is a challenge for the city.

"We always try to be sure and follow due process so people have a chance to make things right on their own," Walsh said.

While the city has the power to force change, officials say there's a risk involved when it comes to hiring a contractor to clean up.

"If it gets to a point where it has to be done the city may go in and take care of it," Walsh explained. "The city might put monetary lien against the property to recover the cost -- now that's a long process, and it's frankly very difficult to recover those costs."

Anchorage residents can file a code complaint on the municipality's website.