I would like to start this quarter’s article by welcoming our newest addition to the Ranger Squad, Sgt. Ricky Gwaltney, badge no. 231. Sgt. Gwaltney was a ranger with us back in 2008–09, was promoted to sergeant, worked on patrol and has returned to be ranger sergeant. He has already shown us a positive direction in serving the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
From the changing of the rangers to the changing of the weather—there has been a lot of rain over the past few weeks, so the extreme fire danger has decreased to moderate to low. I would always like people to be careful with open burning and be aware of any dry brush. The Salt River Fire Department has posted a new sign at the A-Frame to show the fire danger as low, but this can change with the weather or as the fire department directs us.
Labor Day Weekend at the Verde and Salt River area was a bit slower this year. We had no negative incidents on our side of the river thanks to our presence, which deterred non–Community member traffic from entering the area. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office closed the Bush Highway that Monday due to the high traffic volume. I want to thank all of you who came out and enjoyed the wonderful area of the river.
The rangers have been receiving calls about stray dogs and cats. Under the Salt River Code of Ordinances, Animal Welfare Ordinance: 12-9, Restricting Roaming Animals, it states: “It is prohibited for any person owning or having charge of domestic animals to permit them to run at large in any locality or within the boundaries of the SRPMIC. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $150 per violation, with costs.”
Rangers use traps and cages to safely capture unwanted and possibly dangerous dogs. When dealing with the traps, I have instructed persons to not release any dog in the trap unless it is their own dog and the trap is on their property. This is written in Animal Welfare Ordinance laws SRCO 12-29 d and e, which state: “(d) Interference unlawful—it is unlawful for any person to interfere with the enforcement agent in the performance of his duties. (e) Unauthorized removal from impoundment unlawful—no person may remove or attempt to remove any animal which has been impounded or which is in the possession of the enforcement agent.”
The Community has an Inter-Governmental Agreement with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. Their vehicles have a Maricopa County seal and usually have six compartments (three on each side); the agents will come out in the Community and will be with a sworn Salt River police officer or ranger officer. The agents and rangers will only pick up stray dogs, which means the dog has no collar or tag or is unclaimed by someone.
If you own a dog you no longer want, you can surrender it to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control on Eighth Street (now Rio Salado Parkway) and State Route 101 Pima Freeway. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please note there are fees for surrendering your animal to MCACC.
I have had several questions lately about the SRPMIC rabies tags. The rabies tag issued by the Community after your dog is vaccinated is only valid within our boundaries but is free of charge. If you wish to take your pet outside the Community boundaries for an excursion, you must have a valid Maricopa County pet license. If you are outside the boundaries and your pet does not have a license, it is a class 2 misdemeanor (ARS 11-1008).
There are two benefits to having both: You won’t have to worry if you take your pet with you outside the Community, and if your dog is captured any time of day or night by SRPD, the number on the tag will return the dog to you.
Right now the SRPD Rangers do not actively trap or transport stray cats. Our dog traps are too large for cats—in fact, I have been scratched through my trap even while wearing long sleeves with gloves. As defined by Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, “stray” cats are un-owned cats who like human contact, while “feral” cats have little or no contact with humans. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control does not pick up stray or feral cats unless they have bitten a person. The MCACC facility will accept cats, but it charges a larger fee.
I would like to thank you for your time in reading the quarterly SRPD Ranger article; I hope it has been informational and enjoyable. Finally, be sure to have your Tribal I.D. with you wherever you are on the range or at the river; the rangers will be doing random checks. Above all, be safe and call the Salt River Police Department if you need any assistance.