Sioux City, Iowa amends pit bull ban to give rescue dogs hope for adoption

Officials in Sioux City, Iowa have given final approval to an amendment to the city’s pit bull ban which was passed in 2008.  The council voted 5-0 on Monday in favor of allowing approved animal rescue groups to bring pit bull-type dogs into Sioux City for adoption events and veterinary care.

Noah’s Hope, the rescue organization that asked the council to consider the exemption, has no plans to keep pit bulls within city limits.  Rather, the move is an effort to help adoptable dogs get more exposure via outreach and adoption events where they can interact with the public and, hopefully, find new homes.

Currently, dogs that meet the description of “pit bull” stay in rescue or foster care for extended periods of time simply because they get little to no exposure to people looking to add canine companions to their families. I can tell you from personal experience, dogs housed in rescues that are located in rural areas have much less exposure to potential adopters and, therefore, can stay in foster care for months on end. To compound the matter, several communities around Sioux City ban or regulate the ownership of pit bulls, making adoption for highly adoptable dogs even more difficult.

City staff said they will only grant exemptions to agencies on an as-needed basis, and the amendment allows the city manager to set written terms with each rescue organization, which can be revoked if the terms of the agreement are broken.

In response to the very few concerns raised about the proposal, Councilwoman Rhonda Capron made it clear the move is to give adoptable dogs a “new lease on life,” and did not represent a step to reverse the city’s ban.

Of course, we’d all love to see Sioux City repeal its discriminatory ordinance, and I know we have advocates there who will never stop trying to bring positive change. For now, though, I’m happy to hear that rescue dogs that previously had very limited opportunities to find new forever homes now have a door of hope opened for them.

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