Pet crematorium owner cited after bear finds dog remains
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Dog remains awaiting cremation attracted a hungry bear in Alaska’s capital city.
An Alaska man who operates a pet crematorium was cited for creating a nuisance after one or more bears tore into his soft-sided carport, dragged out remains and fed on them in a roadway, the Juneau Empire newspaper reported.
Mike Dziuba, owner of Bridge Pet Services, the only pet cremation business in Juneau, said Wednesday that he fell behind on his work.
“My apologies to the community,” Dziuba said. “I am currently at capacity for providing cremation services. I can offer assistance with shipping if owners are interested and need advice.”
Juneau is situated on the edge of the Tongass National Forest, and black bears often wander into the community.
A caller told Juneau police Tuesday that four dead dogs had been found on a city street near Tee Harbor.
An animal control officer investigated and found the dogs’ remains in heavy plastic bags that had been ripped open and were partially consumed.
Ryan Scott, regional supervisor for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, said he spoke with Dziuba about how to properly store pet remains.
“Everything’s been cleaned up at this point,” Scott said. “We will be monitoring the area as far as bear activity and bear numbers and bear behavior and things like that.”
Dziuba moved the rest of the dog remains to a bear-resistant location, he said.
Dziuba and his business were in the news four months ago when people complained that it was taking a long time to obtain their pets’ ashes. They learned Dziuba was storing remains in the back of his car.
He told the newspaper in March that he was working with clients to get back on schedule. Dziuba said Wednesday that he has not caught up on the backlog.
A Juneau ordinance requires residents to immediately dispose of a dead animal. The ordinance calls for dead animals to be buried, disposed of at the municipal landfill or cremated.