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

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

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