Donnellson, IA says “NO!” to BSL!

The city of Donnellson, Iowa has been debating their animal control ordinance since November 2011. There has been much back and forth between city officials as to whether the ordinance should be breed specific. Mayor Young has been unwavering in his position that he did not want to implement BSL.

The council finally passed an ordinance on Monday night, and it is not breed specific. I just spoke with the city clerk for clarification because we had been hearing that Donnellson already had restrictions on pit bulls. Ms. Krebill confirmed that the city never had BSL, and all the breed specific wording initially in the proposed ordinance has been removed from the final version. Dogs that are determined to be vicious based on their behavior will be required to be leashed and muzzled in public.

If you recall from a previous update on Donnellson back in January, Ms. Krebill stressed that the city was experiencing chronic problems with specific dogs/dog owners, and the mayor wanted an ordinance to target reckless, irresponsible dog owners rather than singling out breeds. The new ordinance is their tool to do just that.

Donnellson council establishes non-breed specific animal measure

By Lauren Zechin/MVM News Network
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 1:41 PM CDT

DONNELLSON – Donnellson’s newly updated animal ordinance is now in effect.

During the city council’s regular meeting Monday at which four of the five council members were present, the first reading of the ordinance was passed and the second and third readings waived. Council member Jan Fraise was absent.

“I feel like this has been discussed long enough that we can, in good faith, skip the second and third readings,” Mayor Bill Young said.

The ordinance will not, after all, be breed-specific when defining what constitutes a “vicious” dog.

One section was added to the ordinance before approval Monday. Copied from Fort Madison’s city code, the section says that animal owners walking their animal (including horses) on public or private property must provide for disposal of that animal’s solid waste. A $25 fine can be imposed for violations of this requirement.

City Clerk Jane Krebill pointed out that the Montrose City Council recently voted to implement a similar fine in their city, with violators paying no more than $500 for a first offense and no more than $750 for a second offense.

A citizen, Robert Watts, questioned the council on whether or not dogs would be banned from city parks. Montrose’s ordinance was recently amended to prohibit animals in portions of city parks. Young said no discussion of such a regulation had been brought up by the Donnellson council.

Other additions to the ordinance were as discussed during the April meeting.

The ordinance:

■ Defines a “vicious” dog as any dog with a known propensity or disposition to attack unprovoked, as evidenced by its habitual or repeated chasing, snapping or barking at human beings or domestic animals so as to potentially cause injury or to otherwise endanger their safety; or a dog that has attacked or bitten any person or that acts in an aggressive or threatening manner toward any person, or when such propensity is known or should be known to the owner.

■ Declares that no person possessing a vicious dog shall permit the animal to go unconfined on or off the premises of their residence unless the dog is securely enclosed in a pen or kennel or is muzzled and leashed (leash must be no longer than four feet). Such dogs cannot be left tethered to inanimate objects such as a tree or building.

■ Defines certain animals such as lions, tigers and venomous snakes as “dangerous” animals, which are prohibited with exceptions for wildlife rescue organizations, medical institutions, circus companies, etc.

■ Creates a limit of four dogs/cats per household. Puppies or kittens under six months of age are excepted. Apartment renters may keep no more than two dogs/cats over six months of age.

The complete code can be viewed at City Hall.


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