ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The mayor of Anchorage has vetoed an ordinance passed by the municipal assembly intended to protect moose from impaling themselves on fences decorated with metal spikes.
The ordinance would have banned new spiked fences and required homeowners to modify existing fences less than 7 feet tall within five years.
The number of moose wounded or killed by such fencing is "very, very low," Mayor Dan Sullivan said Wednesday in his veto statement, adding that the cost of redoing fences outweighs the benefit of saving a few of the animals.
Moose are a common sight for the nearly 300,000 residents of Alaska's largest city. Moose feed on natural and ornamental foliage.
Rick Sinnott, former state biologist in Anchorage, said the Department of Fish and Game typically receives two or three calls a year of moose impaled on fences, KTUU-TV (http://bit.ly/1zNrnSm) reported. Many were found dead.
"Some of the time they'd live, but in most cases they would die of infection," Sinnott said.
Sullivan said more moose could be saved if residents practice safer driving habits, with no cost to taxpayers and property owners. Another tactic might be "not planting trees that are an attractive nuisance to moose — trees that draw moose into roadways or actually make moose sick," he said.
Sullivan, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, also agreed with critics who said the proposed limit on palisade fencing was a government intrusion.
"I don't think this is a huge overreach of government, where moose are essentially being tortured to death on these things," Sinnott countered.
City law already bars barbed-wire fencing between properties because it might harm humans, Sinnott said.
The Anchorage Assembly would need eight votes to overturn the veto.