Tag Archives: waterloo iowa

Waterloo Iowa rejects calls for breed discriminatory law

At last nights City Council meeting in Waterloo Iowa, city officials rejected calls for a ban or restrictions on pit bulls.

Sandie Greco, the department head of Waterloo Animal Control, told the packed City Council meeting that there will be updates to the dangerous dog laws, in a breed neutral way.

We’re basically going for nonspecific breeds.  To specify a breed to be banned does not work.

City staff had discussed breed discriminatory ordinances with some other towns that have these laws, such as  Omaha, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa.

Interestingly Omaha just had an article published lauding the success of their breed based law.  In the article, it stated that bites from pit bulls are way down, but there has been an increase in attacks from other breeds.  It would appear that despite the claimed successes of this law, officials in Waterloo were unconvinced.  There is a lot to be unconvinced of, considering that, overall, Omaha is no safer than before they passed their breed based dangerous dog law.  In fact, based on the numbers provided by Brent Toellner Omaha has experienced a general stasis in attacks, with the highest amount of bites in six years occurring in 2012.

Whatever it was that officials saw or heard from those other municipalities, Waterloo leaders made the right choice.  The new law is set to target irresponsible owners by raising fines associated with vicious and potentially dangerous dogs, a possible reckless owner designation that would prevent repeat irresponsible owners from being allowed to own a dog for several years, and the altering and microchipping of any dog picked up by animal control. Other suggestions were made at last nights meeting as well.

The details of the ordinance are still being solidified.  We look forward to seeing the results of Waterloo’s common sense approach.

When the Council has an ordinance ready for a vote, there will be hearings for public input.  People should remain active in the process, in order to help draft the most effective breed neutral law possible for the welfare of the entire community.

Previous alert for Waterloo: https://stopbsl.org/2013/09/01/waterloo-iowa-officials-are-discussing-breed-based-restrictions/

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Waterloo Iowa officials are discussing breed based restrictions

Officials in Waterloo Iowa are discussing drafting an ordinance that would target pit bulls.

This follows an attack in which two people were injured.  Three dogs were loose and unsupervised when the attack occurred on a public street. An older woman, 65, and a 13-year-old boy were injured in the attack.

According to the reports one dog was shot.  This dog is identified by officials as a pit bull.  The two other dogs were captured and are being held.  One is reported to be a Boston Terrier mix, the other is also reported as a pit bull.  The owner of the two dogs in the custody of animal control has been found.  The dog that was shot was a known stray in the area, though officials are attempting to find an owner.

The female victim and her husband have stated publicly that they do not blame the breed of the dog, but rather the way the dogs were being managed, or in the case of the stray, not managed, in the community.  A suggestion of stiffer penalties for attacks was made by the victims husband.

Loose dogs and strays are nothing new for Waterloo.  Reports of loose dogs in the community, as well as attacks by loose dogs, can be found going several years back.  The most commonly reported incidents are related to unsupervised dogs.

The Mayor has been quoted saying that the draft will be a “very restrictive ordinance for pit bulls.”  At this time there is no clarification as to any aspects of the ordinance because it is in the discussion phase.  There have been no statements made by officials to indicate which direction they may be leaning. The only details that have been discussed publicly are micro-chipping and a special registration.

The Mayor went out of his way to mention that there are some places that ban pit bulls.  This seems to be a common tactic used to soften suggested restrictions.  Another communities implementation of a ban does not lessen the amount of money that will be wasted in Waterloo with a breed discriminatory law. It does not lessen the fact that responsible owners are the only ones penalized by these laws, or that they inevitably end up failing in their primary objective, public safety.  The lesser of two evils is still evil.  Yes, some places ban pit bulls.  However, more than 90% of municipalities in the US have no breed discriminatory restrictions at all.

The agenda for the work session is titled “Potential New Ordinance Pertaining to Pit Bulls.”

Residents and locals: It is important that you reach out now with effective alternatives to breed discriminatory laws.  You can also use Best Friends Animal Society’s fiscal calculator to show how much an ordinance like this would cost the city and the tax payers. You can find this at http://bestfriends.guerrillaeconomics.net/

Council contact information: CouncilmanHart@mediacombb.net, david.jones.ward1@gmail.com, Carolyn.cole@vgm.com, harcarge@aol.com, rjgrx@aol.com, sschmitt@schmitthouse.com

Councilman Ron Welper does not have an available e-mail address. You may reach him via the City Clerk by including a request for the correspondence to be forwarded to him.  City Clerk: suzy.schares@waterloo-ia.org