Gig Harbor City Council: Hot cars, hot dogs and a hot topic

It is a common scenario: A dog is locked in a car on a hot day, and someone calls the cops.

What should the officer do?

The Gig Harbor City Council debated an ordinance July 8 that would institute a $125 fine for leaving an animal in an overheated car, rather than immediately charging the driver with a felony. The ordinance would also give the city and police officers immunity for damage to property if they have to break a car window.

That led council members to share their concerns about harm caused to the animal through the broken glass, harmed caused to the officer if the frightened dog attacks, and harm cause to citizens if the dog escapes the vehicle through the open window.

Police Chief Kelly Busey told council the ordinance would not affect how the officers will deal with a situation, rather the punishment for the owner. The council decided to put off a decision until the next council meeting.

In other business, the city council:

Authorized the mayor to sign a contract with Guy Capoeman, a Native American artist, for up to $139,000 for the design and installation of the sculpture “Our Fisherman, Our Guardian” at Austin Estuary Park. The sculpture is expected to be installed by July 1, 2020. They also accepted a $100,000 donation from the Gig Harbor Kiwanis Foundation toward the cost of the installation. The remaining amount will come from city funds.

Scheduled a debate for the next city council meeting on Resolution 1149, which will require city negotiators to insist bargaining with labor unions must take place in a public forum. The council felt they needed advice from the city’s labor attorney before making a decision on the resolution.

Approved the purchase of fire alarm equipment from Guardian Security for the Skansie House for up to $6,719.40, so tenants of the city-owned museum can use the basement for storage. That is less expensive, the council was told, than building the firewall city code would otherwise require.

Heard Matthew Bonsib take the oath as a new Gig Harbor police officer, and recognized Jeff Martineau for his promotion to sergeant.