HAMPTON, Iowa - The number of vicious dog reports is on the rise in Hampton despite the city having several dog-related ordinances.
"We have had quite a few within the last couple of years," said Hampton Police Chief Ray Beltran.
Eight dog cases have appeared before the Hampton City Council this year, with all of them deemed vicious. Four were found vicious in 2009.
"We certainly don't like it, that's for sure," said Mayor Diane Weldin. "It makes us think people are not very responsible pet owners when we've had so many of these vicious animal dogs brought before the council."
The Hampton Police Department investigates any case that might involve a vicious dog and then turns its findings over to the City Council to determine if the dog falls under the vicious-animal ordinance.
The most recent case appeared before the council on Tuesday.
A pit bull owned by Amy Tietjens got away from the people who were walking it and attacked a small dog.
The small dog had "pretty severe injuries" including a broken jaw, Beltran said. It had to be taken to Ames for medical treatment.
The dog was found vicious and under the city's ordinance must be euthanized or removed from the city limits within three days.
Beltran said it had already been moved to Coulter.
Weldin worries that the next time it might be a child who is attacked.
"If it's a child they don't have any defense to put up against it," she said.
Weldin knows firsthand what type of damage a dog attack can do to a child. Her nephew was attacked by a dog unprovoked and nearly lost one of his eyes.
"I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who have dogs that have been vicious because of a personal incident in my family," she said.
It appears that owners are just being irresponsible, Weldin said.
The city plans to revisit its dog-related ordinances next month.
Raising fines for violations of those ordinances is one thing City Council members will consider.
"We're trying to be proactive about it," Weldin said.