Officials in a northwest Iowa city have adopted changes to an ordinance that now gives the city authority to essentially evict a vicious animal.

Okoboji Police Chief Jason Peterson says under the old ordinance, his only option was to write a ticket if a dog was off its owner’s property and attacked a person or another dog.

“The change would be that we have recourse if there is multiple times that a dog has bitten other animals or attacked other animals unprovoked,” he says, “and if somebody’s hurt in a dog attack — or any domestic animal attack — the animal can be made to leave town.”

Okoboji City Administration Michael Meyers says the city council tightened up the language in the ordinance before approving it this week. “Under the previous language, it could have been argued that: ‘He only did that — he only killed the other dog once, so I’ve got one more,'” Meyers says.

The Okoboji ordinance now addresses attacks that happen without provocation and “cause serious injury.”

Earlier this year, a two-year-old was bitten by a pit bull in the eastern Iowa town of Hopkinton and there’s been a long-running dispute over enforcement of Hopkinton’s ordinance which bans pit bulls from city limits. At least 20 other states have laws which ban cities and counties from having breed-specific ordinances. Okoboji’s refers to vicious animals.

(By Adam Gellert, KICD, Spencer)