Incidents lead to discussion of pit bull ban

Sara Sedlacek · Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Recent incidents involving pit bulls have spurred West Liberty law enforcement to recommend an ordinance banning them within city limits to the West Liberty City Council. At last Tuesday’s regular meeting of the West Liberty City Council, Police Chief P.J. Brewer approached the council with his concerns.

“First off, I’d like to say I’m a dog lover and I never want to see anybody harm or hurt a dog or a person be aggressively active towards a dog,” Brewer began. “The first incident we had here, about three weeks ago, an officer here picked up a pit bull-specific breed dog. The first time he picked it up, the dog was fairly docile and then the next time he had to get it, he had to call animal control out and the pit bull did not want to get into the car or its cage and was very aggressive toward Duane and Officer Even. The dog was running loose and that’s the second time. The person was actually cited for the dog running loose. They had a terrible time controlling the dog. Just a couple days later we had another incident involving a pit bull in a different area, a different dog being aggressive towards a family and the family had to jump into a car. They weren’t able to get out of the car. The dog was jumping up on the door and they felt threatened for their lives so they called us. When Officer Lira got down there, the property owner had the dog controlled and back into the house. They had a fenced in backyard but there was a gate that was open. Officer Lira went up to the door and the dog was jumping and trying to get at him through the door. He said he was in fear that if the dog had gotten out, he would have had to do something to take care of the dog because the dog was going bezerk.”

Brewer said he never wants to see a dog get hurt but also wants to protect West Liberty residents from vicious dogs. A third incident occurred just days later involving a pit bull that bit a member of the family. In that case and the case of the second dog, both owners had the dogs in West Liberty because Davenport and Iowa City have ordinances banning pit bulls from living within city limits.

“I don’t want to have to shoot a dog and I don’t want anyone else to have to shoot a dog,” Brewer said. “I think it’s something we need to look at. Other cities are doing this and I think we need also look at doing this. That’s just three incidents in the last three weeks with that specific breed.”

Many cities around Iowa are creating breed-specific ordinances targeting pit bull-specific breeds. Iowa City, Davenport, Muscatine and Des Moines, to name a few, have already enacted ordinances banning the breed from being kept within city limits.

The Finance & Ordinance Committee will be meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27, to discuss the possibility of creating a breed-specific ordinance. The committee will report back to the council at its next meeting Tuesday, Sept. 2.
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