New pit bull rules eyed

2013-08-30T12:00:00Z 2013-11-27T07:40:08Z New pit bull rules eyedBy TIM JAMISON, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- City leaders may tighten the leash on pit bull owners.

Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark said animal control staff members are working on a "very restrictive ordinance for pit bulls" in the wake of a brutal attack earlier this week that left two people injured.

"It's something we need to react to," he said.

City Council members are scheduled to discuss the possible ordinance changes during a short work session at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday. Public comment typically is not taken during work sessions, but any ordinance change would need to come back at a regular council meeting for approval.

Councilwoman Carolyn Cole said council members are already receiving emails urging the city not to target the breed despite Tuesday's high-profile dog attack on Riehl Street.

Vivien Brookman, 65, was at Allen Hospital on Thursday recovering from about 200 dog bites, while 13-year-old William McNealy suffered bites and scratches after both were attacked by three dogs while walking on a public street.

Police shot and killed a large pit bull involved in the incident while an 8-month-old male Boston terrier mix and a 1-year-old female pit bull were detained by Waterloo Animal Control.

While some communities have adopted outright bans on pit bulls, Clark said the ordinance being developed by Sandie Greco, who oversees animal control for the city, and Maria Tiller, an animal control officer, would still allow people to own the breed under more restrictive circumstances.

Among ideas being considered, the ordinance would require all pit bulls to be microchipped for identification and would create a separate dog license for the breed. He said the rules could require all pit bulls to be spayed or neutered and could place limits on the number of pit bulls a person can own.

Current city zoning ordinances limit the number of adult dogs at a household to four. But there is nothing limiting specific breeds.

Meanwhile, Clark is expecting to present certificates of heroism at Tuesday's council meeting to three individuals who came to help those being attacked by the dogs this week: William McNealy, KaRon Bennett and Tanner Lee Cornwell.

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