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Animal Task Force presents new Animal Control Ordinance

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 11:24 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 11:27 a.m. CDT

The Animal Task Force presented a draft of the Animal Control Ordinance to the city council Monday. Classification of dogs was among the key points discussed.

The discussion initially began with the topic of pitbulls and whether they should they be classified differently than other breeds of dogs. The council decided that they did not want to classify certain breeds, but they did want a solution of how to deal the with the behavior of the dog.

Among classifications, dangerous animals covers a variety of animals, not dogs. Lisa Gibbons, an Animal Task Force representative, explained that they wanted to start with a classification of problematic dogs and not initially potentially vicious. A problematic dog would be a dog at large that has not caused serious harm; a dog that has bitten is not considered problematic.

“If we come out of the gates saying your dog is vicious, which is brutal, ferocious, savage, malicious with intent, you know, dogs are family members and I’m afraid it is going to shut people down,” Gibbons said.

“You are still getting every single part of holding them responsible, that’s not changing.”

If a problematic dog has two strikes against them they become classified a vicious dog and must be spayed or neutered. If that dog goes without incident for one year, the vicious classification can be dismissed, but the dog will remain spayed or neutered.

The task force sees it as a way to get ahead of the problem by educating the person responsible for the dog before a larger issue arises. A dog can still go straight to vicious if they break an additional law.

Among others topics within the ordinance discussed were having a leash law, where all dog would have to be on a leash outside of their property and discussing who should be held responsible for the dog. There has been a large number of people respond that they are just “taking care” of another’s dog when that dog gets in trouble, so the task force would like to address owners and caregivers, the people responsible for the dog at the time.

Contact Staff Writer Jamee A. Pierson at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com.