Factfinder: Pitbull attacks and citations

Information provided by Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark

In 1989, Ottumwa made its firstt attempt to regulate American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers or American Staffordshire Bull Terriers. At that time "pit bulls" were prohibited from being inside the city limits unless they were show dogs or were used as guard or sentry dog.

The incidents that led to the 1989 ordinance included:

  1. an attack on a three-year old child.
  2. an attack and killing of a goat.
  3. an attack on a 21-month old child
  4. an attack on another dog.
  5. All of these occurred between January 1988 and January 1989.

In 2003, the City passed an even tougher ordinance. The ordinance basically forbids any ordinary citizen from owning a pit bull as a pet or a guard dog.

In the two-and-a-half years before the 2003 ban, Ottumwa police recorded 18 pit bull attacks, including the death of 21-month-old Charlee Shepherd in August 2002. There were at least three other attacks on children during this time.

Since the 2003 ordinance went into effect police have issued the following number of citations:

Year Number of citations issued for violation of the pit bull ordinance 2004 14 2005 13 2006 5 2007 3 2008 9 2009 8 2010 21 to date.

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