Officials in Mason City, Iowa are considering a number of options in an effort to control “vicious” dogs. One of the options under consideration is regulation of the ownership of specific breeds of dogs. The council discussed this issue at a work session yesterday afternoon, but took no action. This is expected to come up at a future council meeting.
Please take the opportunity to send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE letters in opposition to an ordinance that would regulate and/or restrict the ownership of specific breeds of dogs, and encourage city officials to pursue a breed-neutral vicious dog ordinance.
City of Mason City
10 First Street NW
Mason City, IA 50401
421 3600 (City Hall)
At-Large Council Person:
First Ward Councilperson:
Second Ward Councilperson:
Third Ward Councilperson:
Fourth Ward Councilperson:
City Administrator/City Clerk
Meeting agendas & minutes: http://www.masoncity.net/agenda.aspx?id=1279&catid=58
Dog owner group protests potential city pit bull ban
MASON CITY — About a half dozen pit bull owners along with their children and their dogs gathered at City Hall Tuesday afternoon, protesting a possible breed ban under consideration as a way of strengthening the city’s vicious animals ordinance.
“My dog is important to me. He’s part of our family,” said Christina Starkey of Mason City. She is the owner of a year-old pit bull named Y.
“There is no reason for just one brand of dog to be selected out,” she said. “We feel it’s more the owner’s responsibility than it is the dog.”
Starkey said dogs need to be trained correctly not to be aggressive.
“For one breed of dog to be selected out — there’s laws in place so people aren’t treated like that. Why would dogs be treated like that?”
The pet owners gathered outside City Hall while City Council members were holding a workshop inside, discussing the vicious-pet ordinance.
The comments by some council members agreed with those of the pit bull owners.
“The focus needs to be on the owners and not on the dogs,” said Councilman Scott Tornquist.
“The dogs are only as good as the owners in most cases,” said Councilman Travis Hickey.
No action was taken at Tuesday’s council work session. Any changes to the city’s vicious animal ordinance will be considered at a future council meeting.
Ordinance changes under consideration include:
• Making insurance mandatory for dogs the City Council defines as vicious.
• Defining certain breeds or characteristics that could be banned from the city.
• Stronger control measures for dogs defined as vicious, including stronger leash laws, how the animal must be contained when outside, etc.
• Requiring dogs defined as vicious to have micro-chips implanted for easy identification.
• Requiring dogs defined as vicious to be spayed or neutered and proof be provided when an animal is licensed.
• Limiting the number of dogs or other animals allowed in a household.
Capt. Mike McKelvey of the Mason City Police Department and Animal Control Officer Pat Gansen said enforcement of a breed ban might be difficult.
“It’s hard enough to keep ahead of the licensing,” Gansen said.
Neighborhood Development Specialist Pat Otto said she would like to see every animal in the city micro-chipped.