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IA: Sioux City May Change Vicious Animal Laws & Drop Pit Bull Ban

Discussion in 'Breed Specific Legislation' started by Vicki, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Sioux City May Change Vicious Animal Laws & Drop Pit Bull Ban

    Hobart, Rochester proposals to be considered Monday
    Council may change vicious animal laws

    By Lynn Zerschling - | Posted: Saturday, March 20, 2010 1:00 am | No Comments Posted

    SIOUX CITY -- City lawmakers will discuss whether to can the pit bull ban and soften its vicious animal law during a discussion Monday afternoon.

    Mayor Mike Hobart and Councilman Aaron Rochester, who both voted to beef up the vicious animal ordinance and to ban pit bulls in 2008, have offered amendments to the city ordinances.

    Hobart's proposal calls for repealing the pit bull ban and adding pit bulls to the city's "high risk" animal category. He would increase the penalties for animals declared to be at high risk and hike the fees for high risk animals, City Attorney Andrew Mai said.

    Rochester, whose pet lab was declared vicious last June, proposes to make investigation of vicious animals a complaint driven system, so appeals of that designation would go before a panel and not a single hearing officer.

    He also proposes to let animals declared to be vicious to be placed outside Sioux City. The current ordinance now requires animals declared to be vicious to be euthanized.

    "Guard dogs are already included" in the high risk category, Mai noted.

    To be designated high risk, the animal would have to attempt to harm a person or another animal. Pit bulls automatically would be listed as high risk.

    In order for authorities to investigate a potentially vicious animal, Mai said the victim would need to file a complaint with the city first.

    "I'll be seeking direction from the council on what they would like to see done," Mai said.

    Mayor Pro Tem Tom Padgett acknowledged that the three newly seated councilmen don't want to revisit the whole pit bull/viscous animal laws.

    Padgett quipped the council majority probably wanted to "let sleeping dogs lie."

    "I think most of us don't want to spent an inordinate amount of time on this. I think we're willing to tweak it," Padgett said.


    The proposals

    Current law:

    Defines a vicious animal to be one that, without provocation, attacks, bites or harms a person, whose bite causes bleeding or documented injury to a person or another animal. The hearing officer may take into account whether the animal was provoked or whether the animal was acting to protect itself, its owner or its owner's property. Animals declared vicious must be euthanized.

    Mayor Hobart's Proposal:

    Repeal the pit bull ban and add the breed of pit bull to the high risk animal category. In addition to current high risk animal requirements, he proposed to add these restrictions:

    -- Muzzle high risk animals; they must be leashed with a chest collar when not on the owner's property.

    -- Post warning signs on all sides of the property and at least two feet from any entrance. The signs must state "Dangerous Dog" or something similar. Animal Control officers may inspect the signs.

    -- Microchip high risk animals, with data kept current.

    -- On the second offense that a high risk animal is seized by animal control, it may be reclaimed by its owner upon payment of impounding and boarding fees, and presenting proof that the animal will be removed from the city. An animal not reclaimed within seven days may be euthanized.

    -- On the third time a high risk animal is seized, it shall be euthanized and the owner will be liable for costs incurred.

    -- Hike the pet license fee to $50 for a high risk animal.

    Councilman Rochester's Proposal:

    -- Make the determination of vicious a complaint driven system. Unless a victim pressures charges or files a report, the animal will not be declared vicious.

    -- Animal Control could pursue high risk charges where vicious animal charges are not made.-- Change the appeal process so a panel makes the determination. The panel could be made up of three persons with specialties in animal control or an alternate group of people.

    -- Allow animals found to be vicious to be relocated outside the city, as well as euthanized.

    Posted in Local on Saturday, March 20, 2010 1:00 am Updated: 10:43 pm.

    Council may change vicious animal laws

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