Category Archives: Iowa

Manly, Iowa – Repeal of Pit Bull Ban Possible

Officials in the city of Many, Iowa discussed the possibility of repealing the city’s  ordinance bannine pit bulls at last night’s city council meeting.  The city adopted its breed specific ordinance in 2008, but the ordinance has not been enforced.  However, several residents recently received a letter from the city telling them they had 10 days to remove their “dangerous” animal from the city limits.  Those dog owners appealed the order to remove their dogs at last night’s meeting.

[…]

Council voted to table indefinitely a decision on what action it should take to allow time to get a better reading on the desires of the community as a whole.

Read more at Blessthebullys.com…

Sioux City, IA: Group presents data in support of BSL repeal

Sioux City, IA, has had a controversial breed ban in place for several years. Despite local efforts to show city officials that the ban has had no effect on public safety (in fact, some data indicates that dog bites have increased since the ban), it looks like city council is just not interested in repeal. It may take an election and a significant change in council makeup to get them to reconsider.

Facebook page for Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue, the group heading up this attempt to change minds in Sioux City: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sioux-Empire-Pit-Rescue/113194522025974

All alerts for Sioux City, IA, including background information: http://stopbsl.org/?s=%22sioux+city%2C+ia%22

Pit Bull Advocacy Group Tries To Lift Pit Bull Ban

Posted: Aug 22, 2012 5:15 PM CDT
By: Diana Johnsend

[…] The group met with Sioux City Council Member John Fitch today in hopes of getting the whole council to take up the issue again, which doesn’t seem that likely.

“My guess is it’s just additional information. This council is not going to take the issue up again, and I would be surprised if you see it taken up any time soon,” said Fitch.

[…] The group added that they hope the council will take into consideration the stricter pet ownership laws they presented because if anything should be taken away from today’s meeting, they said, it should be they’re working for pet safety and proper ownership.

Full article retrieved 8/24/12 from http://www.kcautv.com/story/19345573/pit-bull-advocacy-group-tries-to-lift-pit-bull-ban

Earlham, IA reminder: City to vote on animal ordinance revisions, Aug 13 (still BSL)

Earlham, IA already has BSL. They are revising their animal ordinance, but the BSL will be retained. Although the agenda has not been posted, we believe the proposed revisions will be voted on at the council meeting on August 13 at 7:00 PM. Council meetings are held at Earlham City Hall, Council Chambers, 140 South Chestnut Avenue.

To read more about Earlham’s proposed ordinance revisions or to get contact information for city officials, please visit our previous Earlham alert: http://stopbsl.org/2012/07/11/earlham-ia-city-considering-revisions-to-current-bsl-still-bsl/

Sioux City, IA reminder: Ask council to repeal breed ban, Aug 9

The effort to repeal Sioux City’s “pit bull” ban has been on and off for years. Residents are planning to approach city council and request repeal during the council’s next Coffee with Council meeting, August 9.

If you are in or around Sioux City, please consider joining up with these residents and others who have expressed a desire to repeal the city’s pit bull ban.

What: The third Coffee with Council meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9. The informal meetings are being held the second Thursday of the month.
Where: City Council Chambers, 405 Sixth St.
Format: No formal presentations to the entire group; walk around the room or sit at different tables with council members and/or city staff.

View all our alerts for Sioux City, including information about prior attempts to repeal, here: http://stopbsl.org/?s=%22sioux+city%2C+ia%22

Sioux City, IA: Residents ask for breed ban repeal

If you are in or around Sioux City, please consider joining up with these residents and others who have expressed a desire to repeal the city’s pit bull ban.

The repeal effort has been off and on for years, but residents haven’t been able to pull together a coordinated effort, and city council has rejected or voted against repeal on several occasions.

View all our alerts for Sioux City, including information about prior attempts to repeal, here: http://stopbsl.org/?s=%22sioux+city%2C+ia%22

What: The third Coffee with Council meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9. The informal meetings are being held the second Thursday of the month.
Where: City Council Chambers, 405 Sixth St.
Format: No formal presentations to the entire group; walk around the room or sit at different tables with council members and/or city staff.

Residents ask Sioux City Council to reopen pit bull ban controversy

15 hours ago • LYNN ZERSCHLING lzerschling@siouxcityjournal.com

SIOUX CITY | Jane and Ed Keane urged city lawmakers on Thursday to rescind the ban on pit bulls, claiming that banning specific breeds unfairly targets the breed.

Their comments came during the City Council’s second monthly Coffee with the Council session. […]

In 2008, after a long and contentious debate, the council banned pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Through 2009, the council debated ways to toughen its vicious-animal law. The community controversy came back in 2010 when the new council voted 3-2 to retain the pit bull ban. […]

Full article retrieved 7/13/12 from http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/residents-ask-sioux-city-council-to-reopen-pit-bull-ban/article_de57ca28-fcfe-552f-b151-76725cbda902.html

Aurelia, IA update: Council settles with service dog owner

Many thanks to Animal Farm Foundation for providing this update on the Aurelia, IA court case that pitted Aurelia’s breed ban against Jim Saks and his service dog Snickers. Aurelia probably finally realized it couldn’t win its case, because the ADA prohibits a municipality from imposing its breed ban/BSL on a service dog.

All alerts for Aurelia, IA: http://stopbsl.org/?s=aurelia%2C+ia

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

Contact: Stacey Coleman, Animal Farm Foundation, Inc.
Tel: (845) 233-8823, Email: scoleman@animalfarmfoundation.org

Aurelia City Council Reaches Settlement on “Pit Bull” Service Dog Case

Aurelia, Iowa (July 12, 2012) – After nearly one year of taxpayer-funded legal battles that escalated to the federal level, the City Council of Aurelia, Iowa, opted to settle with Aurelia resident James Sak, 65, a disabled Vietnam Veteran and retired Chicago police officer, and his wife Peggy Leifer on the matter of Sak’s service animal, a “pit bull” dog named Snickers. The council voted three to two in favor of the settlement.

Sak made national headlines in 2011 when the City of Aurelia said his service animal was not permitted in Sak’s home because of the city’s discriminatory dog laws banning “pit bull” dogs.

Under the terms of the settlement Sak and Leifer are permanently allowed to have Snickers in their home and in the community as Sak’s service animal. Leifer will also be allowed to keep Snickers at her Aurelia home in the event that Sak precedes the dog in passing. The city will reimburse the couple for the legal expenses they incurred throughout this process. The settlement also requires that Sak and Leifer maintain an eight-foot fence in their backyard, and a similar fence must be constructed if the couple moves to another location in Aurelia. In 2011 the couple volunteered to erect an eight-foot fence in their backyard, which they completed earlier this spring ahead of the settlement.

“It feels like I got my heart back,” said Sak, upon hearing that the settlement came through. “We’re just glad it’s finally over.”

Attorneys Sharon Malheiro and Michele Warnock of the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines represented Sak and Leifer on this case. In December 2011, they appeared before United States District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett for an evidentiary hearing and successfully obtained a preliminary injunction allowing Snickers to remain at home while the case moved forward. A trial was set to begin in July 2013, but because the council opted to settle outside of court the trial is no longer needed and the legal battle has finally ended.

“We are happy to have resolved the matter to the mutual satisfaction of all the parties,” said Malheiro. “We hope that Snickers will serve as an example for other “pit bull” service dogs in the future.” Leifer also noted the significance of the case. “This has been a landmark for others, that they may be able to keep their service dogs, too.”

The Aurelia City Council’s initial efforts to prohibit Sak from having his service dog appeared to violate 2010 guidance from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on breed limitations for service dogs (“Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services”). In the opinion issued December 2011, the Honorable Judge Bennett stated, “Sak is sufficiently likely to prevail on a claim that a breed-specific ordinance that incidentally bars him from having a pit bull dog as a service animal violates Title II of the ADA and that substitution of a non-pit bull service animal is not a reasonable.”

Animal Farm Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to securing equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs, provided support and information for the case. The foundation operates an Assistance Dog Training Program, where “pit bull” dogs from shelters and rescues are trained to do the same work traditionally reserved for pure bred, purpose bred dogs.

“This case was an extension of our mission and we were proud to ensure that Officer Sak’s rights were not violated simply because his service animal is a ‘pit bull’ dog,” said Stacey Coleman, Executive Director of Animal Farm Foundation. “It is unfortunate that Aurelia wasted taxpayer dollars to discriminate against this family in the first place, but we are pleased that the matter has finally been resolved.”

In January 2012 Sak was diagnosed with cancer and completed treatment at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. Last week Sak received results of a biopsy indicating that the treatments were successful. Sak and Leifer report that Snickers was “a tremendous source of strength, both physically and emotionally, for Jim throughout the process.”

For additional information, please visit www.animalfarmfoundation.org  or contact Coleman at (845) 233-8823 or scoleman@animalfarmfoundation.org.

# # #

Earlham, IA: City considering revisions to current BSL (still BSL)

Earlham already classifies “pit bull terriers and/or crosses thereof” as dangerous animals. No person may own a dangerous animal in Earlham. Thus, “pit bull terriers” are already banned in Earlham.

The proposed ordinance revisions would classify all “vicious dogs” as “dangerous animals.” The new definition of “vicious dog” includes American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire terriers (sic), and any dog that looks like one of these.

Therefore, the existing ordinance and the revisions have the effect of immediately banning ownership of American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Terriers (sic), and any dog that looks like one of these.

We suspect the city is having trouble enforcing the current ordinance, with its vague “pit bull terrier” prohibition, so is seeking to clarify exactly what type of dog is prohibited.

Here is the original dangerous animal ordinance in a nutshell, with the proposed revisions. Underlined/crossed out text shows the proposed revisions.

1. “Dangerous animal” means:
A. Badgers, wolverines, weasels, skunk and mink; B. Raccoons; C. Bats; D. Scorpions; E. Opossums; F. Piranhas;
G. Pit Bull Terriers and/or crosses thereof.Any dog that is a “vicious dog”. Vicious dog means:
(1) Any dog which has attacked a human being or domestic animal one or more times, without provocation;
(2) Any dog with a history, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
(3) Any dog that snaps, bites or manifests a disposition to snap or bite;
(4) Any dog that has been trained for dog fighting, animal fighting or animal baiting or is owned or kept for such purposes;
(5) Any dog trained to attack human beings, upon command or spontaneously in response to human activities, except dogs owned by and under the control of police department, a law enforcement agency of the state or of the United States or a branch of the armed forces of the United States;
(6) Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;
(7) The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;
(8) The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog; or
(9) Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier.

[…]

57.02 KEEPING OF DANGEROUS ANIMALS PROHIBITED. No person shall keep, shelter or harbor any dangerous animal as a pet, or act as a temporary custodian for such animal, or keep, shelter or harbor such animal for any other purpose or in any other capacity within the City.

Please contact the Earlham city council and ask them to repeal their breed discriminatory law.

If you are in the area and would like to attend council meetings and get more involved, the below helpful information is from Jodi of Bless the Bullys. Many thanks to Jodi for this alert!

The issue will be voted on by the council on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. It is very likely that the second and third readings could be waived at the upcoming meeting, so it is extremely important that we act on this alert and offer the council educational materials and information on the flaws and problems associated with breed specific ordinances.

According to the city clerk, if you would like to address the council at the meeting on August 13, please give her a call, and she will add you to the agenda. In addition, she advised there is time allotted for public comment at the beginning of the meeting. Council meetings take place at Earlham City Hall, Council Chambers, 140 South Chestnut Avenue.

Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the Earlham city officials listed below. E-mail contact information is not available for the individual council members, however, you may forward your correspondence to the city clerk, Linette Crouch, with a polite request to forward to each council member.

City Clerk Linette Crouch, cityclerk@earlham-ia.org
140 South Chestnut Avenue, Earlham, IA 50072
515-758-2281

Online contact form for Mayor Dusky Terry: http://earlham-ia.org/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=6%3Adusky-terry&catid=36%3Acity-council&Itemid=89

City Council agendas: http://earlham-ia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=64&Itemid=94