WATERLOO | A committee has been formed to review changes in the city’s animal control laws following a series of highly publicized pit bull attacks.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Carolyn Cole will chair the group, expected to hold its first meeting Sept. 18.
At-large Councilman Bob Greenwood will join Cole on the committee, which is expected to include representatives from Waterloo Animal Control, legal staff, public safety officials, home insurance representatives, pit bull rescue members and a veterinarian.
Mayor Buck Clark said it may be weeks or months before the committee has a recommended an ordinance for the council to consider.
“As we put together the ordinance and before we adopt it there will be ample opportunity for (public input),” Clark said.
City leaders have already received an overwhelming amount of comments from residents and even state and national interest groups about pit bulls. At least one council member has compared the flood of phone calls and emails to those received in 2008 when council members tackled annexation and zoning for a potential coal-fired power plant.
Waterloo Animal Control officers have said the city has a problem with pit bulls after an incident two weeks ago in which a teen-ager and woman were attacked by three dogs on Riehl Street. A week later, a loose pit bull nipped a police officer, and a pit bull attacked Margaret Nevius’ dog at Hammond and Williston avenues.
Nevius was one of several people who attended Monday’s council meeting to call for council action to address the situation.
“The safety of all Waterloo citizens should take absolute priority over a person’s right to own any kind of animal,” Nevius said.
Two other women urged city leaders to target pit bulls with the ordinance changes, even banning them from the community as other communities have done.
But pit bull owners cautioned the city against adopting breed-specific ordinances and have suggested more stringent requirements on all dogs whose owners have shown themselves to be irresponsible.