Anamosa city council votes to lift ban on pit bulls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Anamosa city council votes to lift ban on pit bulls

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ANAMOSA (KWWL) -

For the first time in decades, pit bulls and their owners will be able to walk the streets of Anamosa, legally.

During Monday's meeting, the Anamosa City Council voted 4-2 to uplift the previous ordinance that banned all dogs that looked predominately like a pit bull breed. In order to legally have one, the owner would have to prove that it was predominately not of the breed.

Anamosa wasn't alone in the ban, according to Dogsbite.org, there are over 90 towns in Iowa that have breed-specific legislation against in pit bulls. The majority were outright bans.

The repeal comes after one man took the issue to the council back in October. Chris Collins had recently moved to Iowa from Illinois when he discovered his new hometown had a pit bull ban.

"We were actually trying to foster a pit bull and when I went to the humane society they say 'no, you can't because you guys have a ban on pit bulls,' " Collins said.

That's when he challenged the council to take a look at its current ordinance. He said he's spent the last six months relentlessly talking to people in the town, council members, area humane societies and veterinarians.

"It's been a pretty taxing process just because you're trying to change something and you're also trying to give voice to something that doesn't have a voice," he said.

Collins said he didn't believe a ban worked in the first place and said many people in town already own pit bulls.

"It doesn't eliminate pit bulls. It causes people to go into hiding and the dogs aren't socialized and they're not taken to vets and if you have that, that's a problem for any dog," he said.

On Monday, Collins got his wish. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Anamosa City Administrator Jacob Sheridan said the new ordinance would be effective immediately. Tammy Coons, the city's clerk, specified that it would be effective immediately once it is published on April 5.

During the 4-2 vote, council members Rod Smith and Betty Weimer both voted against the measure. Weimer said she wasn't against lifting the ban, but that she was in favor of a separate ordinance the council had to consider. That one would come with a $100 annual license registration for pit bulls and proof of liability insurance. It would also require the dogs to be spayed and neutered and to be muzzled in public. Police would also screen the owners and ensure they had a proper kennel. Weimer said she was in favor of it as a risk-management option.

Sheridan said that ordinance failed on a 3-3 vote.

The Animal Welfare Friends shelter of Jones County was in favor of doing away with the ban. President David Boehm said volunteers from the shelter attended the city council meeting in support.

"It's kind of hard for us to place them because a lot of the towns in the county don't allow them. It's not the dog. It's what the owners are. I think the ten years that I've been doing this I haven't met a pit bull that was mean," Boehm said.

Boehm said he hopes that Anamosa can be an example for other communities.

"We're going to take things one step at a time and see, hopefully, everything works out in Anamosa and then we'll look at some of the other towns that have pit bull bans," he said.

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