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Pit Bull Owners Speak Out At Public Hearing

By Mike Scott

Dog owners in Kahoka got their chance to give the Kahoka City Council their input into a revised animal ordinance for the city. 

On Monday, September 9, a group of around 10 owners accepted the council’s invitation to speak prior to the regular meeting.

Kahoka resident Daniel Manz spoke first.

“We want to discuss a pitbull ban.  We understand that a lot of people are not in favor of pitbulls.  We fell its wrong to dismiss them as a breed when most of the problems are owner-related, “ Manz said.

Several owners started a petition to allow pitbull dogs, but stopped when they faced social media criticism.

Kahoka Animal Control Officer Bill Young said, “A pitbull, when it’s with its owner, usually isn’t a problem.   He later added, “We want everyone to register their dog so we know who it belongs to if it gets out.”

Melinda Russel just moved to Kahoka.

“We bought ours as a therapy dog for our son.  We have not raised our dog to be violent,” she said.  “I understand why you’re concerned.  There really shouldn’t be an issue.  Set rules, maybe require carrying insurance.”

Alderman Joe Roberts replied that he had checked with five insurance agents in Kahoka, and four do not offer coverage for pitbulls.

“It’s all about safety,’ said Roberts.  “I’m in favor of a dog ordinance.  We have to do something, and we want to be fair, but we have to be safe.”

Roberts noted that in the past the city requires $100,000 liability insurance on pitbulls.

Alderman Orlie Yoder said, “One of the things we have to face is looking at the safety for the public.  We can write pages of ordinances.  Or do we nip this in and have none.  There is going to be a population that’s going to ignore the law, and someone is going to be hurt badly.”

Are we going to regulate and predict the future, or wait until something happens?  Even if there was a ban tomorrow, we have to think about enforcement,” added City Attorney Brett Bozarth.

No action was taken at the meeting, and the council will consider any ordinance revisions at a future meeting.