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Pit bull attacks have city officials and citizen concerned

You may have seen the news about the vicious pit bull attack on Mason City’d north side. The attack has City officials concerned.|Terry Bilky was delivering mail on November 26th when he was attacked by a pit bull owned by Kayla Feltcher who lives at 1515 N. Penn.

Julie Bilky, Terry’s wife, wrote an email to Mason City Council members seeking help in having the dog dealt with. She says in the email that she believes the dog to have bitten at least three times now, which would make it a vicious animal. One of the bite victims was an 11 year old child, she claims.

Julie Bilky goes on to say in the email that she would like to see the dog put down, and not released back to the owner.

This attack along with another vicious pit bull attack near downtown Mason City in August have Mason City officials seeking answers on how to prevent further attacks.

Councilman Max Weaver questioned the communications at City Hall between City Attorney Tom Meyer, City Administrator Brent Trout, Mason City Animal Control Officer Pat Gansen and animal control officer Pat Otto. “My question, did Mr. Meyer tell Trout, Otto, Gansen that we may have a vicious animal on our hands?” contacted all six Mason City City Council Members as well as Mayor Eric Bookmeyer asking how the city would move forward with the vicious dog issue. Mayor Bookmeyer and Council members Travis Hickey, Janet Solberg and Scott Tornquist did not reply to our request for information.

Councilman Jeff Marsters wrote back saying “I sent (an) email a while ago (to City staff). Similar to one I sent early this summer after another pit bull attack. Answered, that staff was currently reviewing our code, but nothing ever moved that time.” In his email to other City officials, Martsters wrote “Gentlemen, what can we do? The potential for a fatality continues to grow. I hate to think we are going to wait for a death to deal with the growing number of pit-bulls owned by irresponsible owners.”

Don Nelson requested information about the Bilky dog attack case from City Attorney Tom Meyer, who then spelled out the City’s options in a reply email. Meyer says the City cannot unilaterally in a dog attack case; if the defendant pleads guilty to vicious animal, the dog would like be euthanized. If defendant pleads not guilty, the case goes to trial, where a guilty verdict to vicious animal again would lead to the dog being euthanized. Finally, in some cases, the City may ask a the owner of an animal that is “obviously a danger to the community” to sign over the animal top the City to be euthanized.

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