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City Council Hears Recommendations for Change in Dog Ordinance
DES MOINES, Iowa - After several months of meetings among a city-appointed committee to review the city's dog ordinance, committee members presented proposals for change in the code to council members Monday. The committee - made up of city staff and citizen members - had numerous suggestions for change in the ordinance, including a specific definition for "dog bite" to ensure officials treat all dog attacks consistently. However, the controversial issue lies within "breed specific language" within the ordinance targeting certain types of dogs - like the pit bull - as "vicious" without needing a prior attack on the dog's record. Owners of these types of breeds in Des Moines currently must go through extra steps, like purchasing insurance on the dog, and micro-chipping it, that owners of other breeds do not. While some members of the community have pushed for a removal of breed specific language - arguing all dogs have the potential to harm someone, and a dog should not be categorized as "vicious" with extra regulations before it's done harm - the committee's formal suggestion was to keep the regulations on pit bulls in place. Instead of classifying them as "vicious," the committee recommends they change the label to "high risk."