The Forest City Council will take up a first reading of a pet ordinance that will effectively ban pit bulls breeds within city limits. The ordinance states that it is “unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in anyway possess with the corporate limits of the City a Pit Bull Dog.” It further states that a Pit Bull Dog is defined to mean, “The Bull Terrier breed of dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, dogs of mixed breed are known as Pit Bulls, Pit Bull dogs, or Pit Bull Terriers. These include any dog which has the appearance and characteristic of being predominantly of the breeds of Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier-known as Pit Bulls, Pit Bull Dogs, or Pit Bull Terrier, or any combination of these breeds.”
The city will reserve the right to test any dogs believed to be of a pit bull breed through DNA testing. The city will pay for the test unless it is proven to be of a Pit Bull breed. Then the owner will be forced to pay for the test.
The ordinance does not stop with the Pit Bill breeds. The ordinance also calls into question vicious animals. The city will mandate that “no person shall keep, shelter, or harbor any vicious animal within the corporate city limits” with the exception being a police dog or a guard dog. Guard dogs must be approved by the city and be kept within a structure or fixed enclosure at all times. The premises where the dog is kept has to have a prominent posting with the words “Guard Dog” or “Vicious Dog” placed in a visible location.
If a complaint is received about a vicious animal that is being harbored or sheltered by someone, the City, Mayor, or Police will investigate. If the animal is loose and cannot be otherwise contained or captured, it will be destroyed. The city does not have a duty to capture or confine the animal according to the ordinance and it does not have to notify the owner prior to the destruction of the animal. The city can order the owner to remove the animal and will give the owner three days to do so.
The city has the right, under the ordinance, to impound animals who are found to be at large. The owner may be served or cited while the animal is held for up to 24 hours. If after that time frame, the owner does not recover the animal, it will be transported to the Humane Society of North Iowa and all applicable fees will apply.
The ordinance now requires all residents with a dog or cat which is six months or older to be licensed. Residents have sixty days to do so. The lifetime license fee is $60, but can be reduced if the animal is spayed, neutered, or microchipped. If one of those conditions apply, the fee is $25. If the owner prefers to pay annually, the license is $10 annually if the animal is spayed, neutered, or microchipped. Otherwise, the fee is $20 annually. A metal license will then be issued for the pet to wear and it is unlawful for anyone to remove it from the dog or cat.
The Forest City Council will meet tonight beginning at 7pm in the Forest City Hall to conduct the first reading of the ordinance. The public is encouraged to attend.