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Des Moines, IA: Councilwoman backs citywide ban on pit bulls
Posted on June 26, 2009 by stopbslcom
Des Moines already has breed-specific regulations for "pit bulls." The regulations apparently are not working very well, prompting calls for an all-out ban.

Please send helpful, informative, respectful correspondence to councilmembers.

The next city council meeting is June 30, 3:30 PM. This issue is not on the agenda, but that should not prevent concerned citizens from speaking during the public comment session.

City Official Contact Information

City Manager (who will be reviewing the current ordinances)
Richard Clark
(515) 283-4141
[email protected]

Mayor - T. M. Franklin Cownie
675 Harwood Drive, Des Moines, IA 50312
City Hall Phone: (515) 283-4944

Ward I - Thomas D. Vlassis
5001 Lyndale Drive, Des Moines, IA 50310
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1623

Ward II - Robert L. (Bob) Mahaffey
2220 E. 32nd Street, Des Moines, IA 50317
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1624

Ward III - Christine Hensley (calling for a ban)
753 55th Street, Des Moines, IA 50312
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1625

Ward IV - Brian Meyer
5417 SE 29th Street, Des Moines, IA 50320
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1626

At Large - Michael Kiernan
750 16th Street, Des Moines, IA 50314
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1621

E-mail addresses for Mayor and City Council members:
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

City council agendas and meeting dates:
Mayor and Council - Agenda

Des Moines councilwoman backs citywide ban on pit bulls | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register

Des Moines councilwoman backs citywide ban on pit bulls
By JASON PULLIAM • [email protected] • June 26, 2009

A Des Moines City Council member has come out in favor of a pit bull ban while local leaders weigh tougher regulations on breeds of dogs deemed vicious in the city code.

Councilwoman Christine Hensley said the volume of complaints and concerns she's fielded about pit bulls over the years has moved her to back a ban.

"They're not an appropriate breed to have in the city because there are all kinds of issues that could potentially develop," she said.

A string of recent attacks involving pit bulls has prompted city leaders to scrutinize whether current regulations go far enough.

The decision to investigate stronger rules for so-called vicious dogs came this week after the council voted unanimously to deny an appeal from Andrew Newsom, 1105 Euclid Ave., who sought to overturn a hearing officer's decision to destroy his pit bull.

Newsom's dog on May 16 was running loose when it attacked a neighbor's dog and bit the owner's hand. Newsom's pit bull was unlicensed and uninsured at the time of the attack.

Vicious dogs must be licensed in the city, and owners must show proof of at least $100,000 in liability insurance.

Newsom was warned after a November 2005 incident that his dog would be seized and humanely destroyed if it was ever found unlicensed and running loose in the city.

There are 199 licensed pit bulls in Des Moines this year, but 402 pit bull-type dogs have been identified at one time or another within the city limits. A Des Moines ordinance passed in 1987 classified pit bulls as vicious dogs.

If a ban is implemented, dog owners who already have pit bulls in the city should be able to keep them if they follow necessary requirements, Hensley said.

Mayor Frank Cownie said recent problems with vicious dogs could necessitate additional restrictions. He's not convinced, however, that a ban is needed.

"We have to look at all aspects before we flat decide what we're going to do with a specific breed," Cownie said.

It's fairly common for vicious-dog owners to violate requirements for licensing, containment and liability insurance, Sgt. Scott Raudabaugh, the city's chief humane officer, said in a recent interview.

Vicious-dog ordinances are in force in Polk County and a few dozen Iowa cities. Council Bluffs in 2004 put several restrictions on pit bull owners and banned any more of the breed in the city.

Pit Bull Rescue Central, an organization that promotes education about pit bull-type dogs, calls breed-specific laws "ineffective, costly to residents and unfair to responsible dog owners."
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