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Old 08-16-2007, 01:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Glenwood gives final OK to ordinance limiting pit bulls, IOWA

GLENWOOD - Despite the protests of a handful of citizens, the Glenwood City Council approved the final reading of a proposed pit bull ordinance Tuesday evening at City Hall.

The ordinance that requires current owners of three specific pit bull breeds to build kennels, post "Beware of Dog" signage and carry liability insurance will become law following publication Aug. 22.

Patterned after the Council Bluffs pit bull ordinance, which has been tested in court, the Glenwood ordinance seeks to ban certain pit bull breeds from its city limits and limit the number of pit bulls already in the area by requiring their owners to spay and neuter the animals.

"It's really a deterrent," said Glenwood Mayor Dyle Downing. "We have to get a handle on it before it gets out of hand. We're trying to be proactive instead of reactive."

Currently there are six registered pit bulls in Glenwood. Downing said a recent incident in which a police officer was forced to deploy his Taser on a pit bull in order to prevent an attack prompted the ordinance.

"We knew we would get a little resistance from present owners," Downing said, adding that other citizens have approached him in support of the ordinance.

No one at Tuesday's City Council meeting spoke in favor of the ordinance. Five people were present to contest it.

"I'm absolutely opposed to this breed specific legislation," said Christine Felos. "I'm for stiffer penalties on vicious dogs, but targeting one breed is not going to accomplish anything."

The city of Glenwood currently has a "dangerous and vicious animals" law that states if an animal bites someone more than once in 12 months, it could be banned. Downing said that the new legislation is designed to protect the citizens of Glenwood, but others disagreed.

"If you do any research, having breed-specific legislation doesn't create any safer of an environment," Emily O'Tool said.

Pit bull owner Josh Ehrenhard asked if any of the suggestions owners made to the Public Safety Committee on July 24 regarding the proposed ordinance and its requirements had been taken into account and considered as amendments.

"There have been no changes to ordinance as it was written, but it can be modified," Downing responded.

Brian Williams questioned if any research had been done on the codes in other cities that had been repealed because they were breed specific. Police Chief John O'Connor answered that he had not, and Williams later voiced his disappointment.

"I don't think they've done their research very well," he said. "I don't think making it breed specific is going to solve anything."

Though the previous two readings of the ordinance had been approved unanimously, Tuesday's vote was passed 4-1 after no discussion, with council member Craig Florian the lone dissenting vote.

"I hear where you're coming from. We already have a vicious dog law on the books," Florian said to Williams. "For what it's worth, coming in here hasn't been completely worthless; I agree with you."

All but Williams had left after voicing their opinions on the ordinance and were not present for the vote. Williams' wife, Laura, was visibly upset by the council's response to the research done by local pit bull owners.

"They don't care, they are just going to pass it," she said. "The City Council is such a joke. I say, 'You vote 'em in, you vote 'em out.'"

Laura Williams said she and her husband, along with their 8-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier, Max, will probably move from the area now after living in Glenwood for less than one year.

"Why should we be punished for other people who can't control their dogs?" she asked. "If you don't know the breed and don't understand them, I don't think you should have them."

The Glenwood Police Department will be responsible for enforcement of the ordinance.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...d=555106&rfi=6

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