The City of Ottumwa has a pit bull ban in place, but the city’s leadership are discussing some changes to the ordinance after hearing from some community members.
Ottumwa City Council member Cara Galloway said while she can emphasize with the public’s feelings on both sides of the debate, some people are out of line.
“I don’t like the threatening emails, the bullying tactics and people being rude,” she said at this week’s city council meeting. “I’m sorry. I understand this is a heated issue, but threatening and bullying is not going to get anyone anywhere. It’s really just going to shut us down from listening and truly understanding what you’re trying to say.”
City Council member Marc Roe said some citizens have threatened legal action.
“People are taking pictures of litigation papers and (saying): ‘We’re just going to sue the city if we don’t get what we want,'” he said during this week’s council meeting. “Here’s my invitation: If the speed of this process to make sure it’s done correctly is not to your liking, please hire an attorney because we’re not going to be threatened by litigation.”
City Administrator Phil Rath did not directly mention the pit bull ban at the council’s meeting this week, but indicated council discussions about the ordinance began last fall. “We looked at other communities, the Iowa Humane Society, different resources,” he said. “The public weighed in, has been weighing in — the pros, cons, people for and against.”
A revised version of the ordinance is expected to be read during the Ottumwa City Council’s May 3 meeting. It must be publicly read three times at these meetings before the city council can vote on it. The earliest that vote could happen is June 7.
Ottumwa has had a pit bull ban since 2002 after a child died following a pit bull attack.
(By Ellis Codjoe, KBIZ, Ottumwa)