There were comments on both sides of the issue as the Sioux City city council voted 4-1 on the first reading of an ordinance Monday to drop the ban on pit bulls.
Former city councilman Jim Rixner voted for the ban when it was instituted and said he hoped it would continue. “One of the things about pit bulls that led to my conviction that they had to be banned in this city is that they have the propensity to attack children as well as adults, as well as other animals,” Rixner said. “I have grandchildren. I don’t want a pit bull ripping my grandchildrens’ face apart.”
Gregory Giles was one of several people who spoke in favor of ending the ban. He offered an alternative to reduce the number of overall dog bites in the city. He says there are numerous animals running around the city that are unleashed, unlicensed and unneutered. “And that’s much more important to preventing dog bites — is to neuter your animal, to spay your animal, to keep it locked in your yard, not on a chain, but in a home or within a fence areas and not have them running free. It’s irresponsible dog ownership that causes dog bites, not specific breeds,”Giles said. Councilman
Pete Groetken was the lone vote against repealing the ban. He was a police captain when the ban was passed a decade ago.
“My concern being a police officer was the exposure of the city to any potential liability issues. And I want to reduce those, and I want it to be safe for everybody” he says. “Now there’s no guarantees. I’ll be heartbroken if the ban goes away and something serious happens in a week.”
Mayor Bob Scott voted for the repeal — but said he wasn’t convinced it was the right vote. The council will take additional votes on repealing the ban at their next two meetings.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)