Citizen discusses ban on pit bulls

The Ottumwa City Council met on Monday evening in a work session to listen to supporters in favor of lifting the ban on pit bulls.

Ottumwa resident, Shawn James, spoke at the council meeting on behalf of a room full of supporters challenging the ban. James and his family have been around pit bulls throughout their lives.

On Thursday, James told KTVO that council members stated he gave a well-organized presentation.

"I'm just happy that they took the time to actually listen to what I had to say, and give me their side, and so forth. I'm really hoping that maybe they will take time and actually sit down and think about the dogs for a change...and start holding people responsible for not being able to take care of their dogs properly," James said.

In 1989, Ottumwa made its first attempt to regulate American Pit Bull Terriers.

In 2003, the city passed an even tougher ordinance...this one forbids any citizen from owning a pit bull as a pet, or guard dog, in the city limits.

James said he is hopeful that progress can be made on lifting this ban.

"At this point in time, I'm hoping that maybe we can get somewhere. I also know that if we don't get somewhere, we are not going to give up. My plans are if we are not heard here, and nothing gets done, then my next trip is to the state capital and we'll go from there," James said.

He discussed on alternative to the ban, and that is to give these dogs a special license.

"The city gives you a special license and you can own your dog. And [officials] can come at any given time that they want, and check on the dog to make sure there is no illegal activity going on, and that the dog is being properly restrained. I know the good dog owners would be willing to do that...the people that are still hiding their dogs, and so on and so forth, will be the ones that won't be trying to apply for that," James said.

He echoed a point made at the council meeting on Monday that "all dogs, not just pit bulls, are capable of hurting people if they are improperly raised."

Following Monday's meeting, council members stated they would discuss the matter further. There is no indication that officials are inclined to consider lifting this ban on pit bulls.