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Highlights of City Council discussion on dealing with vicious animals

The Mason City City Council met Tuesday afternoon to discuss how to handle vicious animals.

They were greeted outside City Hall by about two dozen people with their dogs, protesting any possible breed ban ordinance.

City staff had proposed the following possible laws or rules the City Council could consider in dealing with animals the city deemed “vicious”:

– Making insurance mandatory for dogs the City Council defines as vicious animals.
– Breed ban. City Council would decide what breeds to ban from city limits.
– Stronger control measures for dogs the City Council would define as vicious animals. Examples would be leash requirements and how to contain the animals.
– Require dogs the City Council defines as vicious animals to have microchips to allow easy identification.
– Require the dogs the City Council defines as vicious animals be spayed or neutered and proof be provided.
– Limit the number of dogs and/or other animals in a household.

Highlights from the meeting:

The Council spent about 35 minutes discussing the issue. Don Nelson was absent.

The majority of Council members seemed not to support a breed ban. Apparently, this is extremely difficult to enforce due to proving exactly what breed a dog is. A DNA test would have to be administered to the animal which can be costly.

Levying more and/or stiffer fines on owners was considered and there was more support for this measure.

Micro-chips can be injected into anmials of questionable breeds for just $5.00.

Of the 18 dog bites in Mason City so far this year, 9 were sad to be from pit bulls, the other 9 bites from various other breeds. Male un-neutered dogs do most of the biting staff said.

It was said that there is an estimated 3000 dogs and cats as pets in Mason City.

If an ordinance change was drafted, it would be shared with the public prior to a vote.

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