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Old September 15th, 2004, 01:27 PM
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heidiho heidiho is offline
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3 Strikes Means No More Pets In Bluffs

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Bad pet ownership now faces a three strikes policy in Council Bluffs.

The City Council voted Monday night to approve an ordinance that penalizes poor pet ownership. Three strikes and the owner could lose the right to own pets.

Video: City Will Take Animals From Bad Owners

The concern about pets in Council Bluffs began last spring. After more than a dozen pit bull attacks, the city talked about banning the animals, but constantly heard the same argument.

"It's really not the animal's fault, it's the pet owner's fault," said pet owner Samson Wick. "The animal is only as good as the person who handles him."

So the Council Bluffs Department of Public Health starting looking at alternatives.

"We sat down with people and listened to their concerns," said Director of Public Health Don Dierks. "We tried to implement some new ordinances that would allow us to do some things other than just ban the pit bulls."

The new ordinance covers things such as abuse, leashes and licenses. If a dog owner violates the ordinance twice in a 12-month period, he or she will be considered an irresponsible pet owner. After the third offense, the pet is taken away and the owner is banned from having another pet for 36 months.

The plan is to get them implemented in early October and the city will review the new law in a year to see whether it is working.

"To be honest with you, I don't think it's going to take very many before word travels that they're out there enforcing these things," Dierks said.

"I don't like the idea of the government having that right to take your rights or privilege of owning a pet," Wick said.

The idea of banning pit bulls altogether in Council Bluffs is not a dead issue. Several city council members want a ban and they will discuss the issue on Oct. 11.

Previous Stories:
September 8, 2004: Council Bluffs Records 22nd Pit Bull Bite
September 3, 2004: Council Bluffs Will Vote Again On Pit Bull Ban
August 27, 2004: Pit Bull Attacks Owner In Council Bluffs
August 11, 2004: Pit Bull Ban Fails To Pass
July 26, 2004: Bluffs Postpones Pit Bull Ban
June 25, 2004: CB Reports 16th Pit Bull Attack
June 15, 2004: Bluffs Discuss Pit Bull Ban
May 27, 2004: Council Bluffs
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