Missouri Valley, Iowa, currently has a breed ban in place. Officials are looking into the possibility of repealing their ban and enacting restrictions instead.
Last month, a resident had his dog confiscated under the ordinance. The dog in question was moved to an out-of-state location and is currently living with family members. In response, the resident, Bryan Athay, and his girlfriend, Katie Flora, obtained 63 signatures from registered voters in Missouri Valley asking that the ordinance be revisited.
This is a point of interest for several different reasons. Often we see online petitions, but the criticism of those is always the same from councils. Officials point out, rightly so, that signatures on online petitions come from out-of-town, out-of-state and also, in many cases, out of country. City councils are most apt to listen to the voters in their community. Even petitions that are taken of residents generally do not have the forethought to limit those to registered voters. This shows incredible thought and tact on the part of Mr. Athay.
A second point of interest is that Missouri Valley, Iowa, has a population of roughly 2,750 people. This is an extremely small community. According to census data there are approximately 1,500 registered voters. This means that the signatures gathered in less then one month represent slightly over 4% of registered voters in the community. While this may not seem impressive at face value, given the length of time in which the signatures were gathered, and the fact that they limited it to not only residents, but registered voters in the community, the 4% becomes a much more impressive feat.
The current ordinance targets a variety of dogs under their “pit bull” ban.
“E. Pit Bull Terriers, including the following:
(1) The Bull Terrier breed of dog;
(2) The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed;
(3) The American Staffordshire Terrier breed;
(4) The American Pit Bull Terrier breed;
(5) Dogs of mixed breed or other breeds which are known as pit
bulls, pit bulldogs or pit bull terriers;
(6) Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of
being predominantly of the breeds of Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull
Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier,
any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull
terriers or a combination of any of these breeds.”
This law is covered under the city code regarding Dangerous and Vicious animals, putting “pit bulls” in the same category as badgers, wolverines, weasels, skunk and mink, raccoons, bats and, oddly enough, scorpions.
The council will meet on July 1st, where the issue will likely be open to discussion.