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Online petition takes aim at Ottumwa breed ban

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 8:28 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) -

An online petition now has over 1,000 signatures to end the Pitbull dog breed ban in Ottumwa. “The Pitbull ban today could be your dog’s breed ban tomorrow,” spearheader Marcia Mcdaniel said of the ban.

She says her goal is to try to convey to the people of Ottumwa and the city council that Pitbulls aren’t aggressive animals.

In the petition, she writes, “Ottumwa’s breed-specific law names breeds and non-breed mixes in a discriminatory manner, labeling and the visual identification of these dogs is wrong. A simple change to this ordinance to include all dogs and holding owners responsible for their dogs’ behavior is needed.”

Other Ottumwans writing their reason for signing like one that says: “I believe there shouldn’t be a ban on any type of dog breed. Not all dogs are bad and I hate that we label a breed this way.”

Melissa Childs, Certified Dog Trainer in Southeast Iowa, says this ban restricts Pitbull owners in more ways than one.

“People who own Pitbulls in Ottumwa they are afraid to seek out and they can’t seek out training, they can’t seek out socialization. They can’t even seek out veterinary care. Or even report a crime for fear that they will be found out as a Pitbull owner,” Childs said. She adds proper training and socialization is what makes an animal safe.

This breed ban comes after a 2002 incident in which a child died following an attack in the family’s backyard. The ban going into place shortly after. Now decades later, Mcdaniel is hopeful this year the ordinance will change.

Officer Williams with the Ottumwa Police Department says citations can be written to pet owners with a Pitbull. He says citations can cost $100 plus the added court fees. Pet owners are then asked to remove the Pitbull outside of city limits. If the owner fails to comply Williams says the dog can be seized and owners can face jail time.

“I just want to see a fair law put into place that is less dissimilatory,” she shared. Mcdaniel says she hopes to take this to the city council sometime in the near future.

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