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Looking at a new animal ordinance

Estherville City Council discusses reversal of breed ban and new requirements for owning certain breeds of dog

August 8, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer (apeterson@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

The Estherville City Council reviewed a proposed new animal protection and control ordinance at Monday meeting.

Mayor Kenny Billings said the council was asked to provide direction and discussion on the contents of the proposed draft provisions. Council members Cindy Hood and Julie Clark worked on the revised draft, along with city administrator Penny Clayton and city attorney Jennifer Bennett Finn.

Clayton said the new rules would strike a balance between maintaining public safety, but allowing more freedom in the selection of breeds of dog. No dog would be banned from the city because of breed, but the city proposes to require additional safety precautions for these breeds.

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These dogs would not be subject to the tighter restrictions under the proposed new ordinance.

The proposed regulation sets out a potentially dangerous dog breed, describing the breeds on the list of eight as "irrefutably presumed to be potentially dangerous per se."

The list includes: Doberman, excluding miniature pinschers; Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Akita Inu, Tosa Inu, Dogo Argentino.

This is separate from a classification as a "dangerous dog," which is any dog that shows signs of aggression without provocation towards any person or domestic animal.

A vicious animal is a more severe category, defined as an animal that has seriously injured or killed another domestic animal of its own will, has caused serious injury or death to a human, or is deemed by the chief of police to possess such a propensity. Keeping a vicious animal is prohibited.

Here's what the new ordinance would mean to owners of dogs of the listed breeds and other potentially dangerous dogs:

1.The dog must be on a leash and muzzle if outside its kennel or pen. The leash must be no longer than six feet, and a person must be in physical control of the leash. Off the owner's property, these dogs must wear a muzzle sufficient to prevent them from biting persons or other animals.

2.The dog must be securely confined inside or in an enclosed kennel or pen when outside. This must include a roof attached to the sides. The dog cannot be kept on a porch, patio or any part of a house that would allow the dog to exit on its own volition.

3.The property must have a Beware of Dog sign easily readable by public and include a pictogram (an outline or illustration of a dog).

4.The owner of the dog must have $100,000 in general liability insurance per single incident for bodily injury or death of a person resulting from having the animal. The policy must require 30 days notice given to the city clerk of Estherville before cancellation or reduction of the insurance.

5.The dog must be microchipped.

The same requirements apply to dangerous dogs (those who have shown a propensity to aggressive behavior or have actually displayed it), with the addition that the owner is required to have $250,000 of liability insurance, the dog must be spayed or neutered, and no more than one dangerous dog may be owned, kept or harbored at a single residence.

The city council also discussed the possible application of the proposed ordinance to the planned dog park in Spurgin Park.

Clayton said, "In the dog park, we typically let dogs run off leash."

One proposal was that the potentially dangerous dogs could run off leash if they were properly muzzled.

The proposed animal ordinance also includes possible changes to the licensing requirement.

The proposed requirement says, "All dogs and cats over the age of four months shall be licensed with the city of Estherville. This requirement does not apply to nonresident owners keeping a dog or cat within the city for less than thirty days in twelve consecutive months."

A rabies certificate is required to obtain a license.

Expiration dates can vary from one, two or three years depending upon the owner's preference and the rabies shot dates.

The proposed cost is $10 for one year ($5 if spayed or neutered); $15 for two years ($7.50 if spayed or neutered) and $20 for three years ($10 if spayed or neutered) with $3 for a replacement tag and a $3 surcharge.

 
 
 

 

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