Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pitbull Amendment Adds Restrictions For Owners - Sioux City,IA

The latest debate over Sioux City's pit bull ban was put to rest tonight after council members voted to add a few more restrictions to the rules.

Attendance was lower than past hearings regarding pit bulls, still, about a dozen pit bull owners spoke and discussion carried on for hours as the council decided how to deal with pit bulls that were in the city before the ban went through this fall.

Council members and the public debated restrictions on the breed including keeping pit bulls on a six foot or shorter leash, only being walked by adults age 18 and older, micro-chipping of the breed, and keeping the dogs in enclosed kennels or fences that are at least six feet tall.

One restriction that was erased from the amendment after some debate tonight was the requirement to muzzle the dogs while out in public.

Mayor Mike Hobart put up a fight for most of the elements of the amendment and was the only one on council who voted against it. Hobart says he fears there might be problems enforcing these new restrictions.

"What's going to happen regarding an individual who can't afford the higher fence? I think that's going to be an enforcement issue," said Hobart. "I think the six foot leash issue - is it 6 foot, is it 6 foot 2 inches, is it 6 ft 4 inches? There's going to be enforcement issues, and that's the problem with all of these ordinances."

The council voted tonight not to have a second and third hearing on this amendment as they feel the issue of pit bulls and their safety has been discussed very thoroughly at this point.

The new amendments to the ordinance will take effect on Saturday, January 17, when they're published.

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