SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) –After a heated Sioux City council meeting Monday evening, the city is a step closer to ending a more than decade long ban on pit bulls within city limits.
In a dog eat dog open discussion period, the vast majority of speakers wanted the ban gone.
Pit bull owner, Rande Giles says, “They’re clowns of the dog world, they’re just the most amazing breed.”
But three wanted the ban to stay, including one of the people responsible for creating it in the first place. Former Sioux City council member James Rixner says enacting the pit bull ban was one of the best decisions he made in office.
“Pit bulls are dangerous animals, I’m going to stand by that statement. It was controversial at the time, but we did the right thing and if we saved one child from getting hurt seriously by a pit bull it was worth it.”
In 2008 the ban passed unanimously, citing a high number of pit bull attacks as the reason behind the ordinance. However, new data shows there are far fewer pit bull bites than before.
Council member, Rhonda Capron says, “5% pit bull bites, what does that tell you? That tells me 95% are other dogs. So why are pit bulls getting a bad wrap?”
But council member Pete Groetken, a former Sioux City police chief and the one lone vote to keep the ban in place, interprets the data differently.
“Before the ban took place you had two and a half more times the opportunity to be bitten by a pit bull. So I think people are honoring the ban,” says Groetken.
But many argue the ban doesn’t actually get rid of the pit bulls, instead it just keeps them in hiding.
“There are pit bulls in the city and those people are terrified to reach out to anybody for any resources because they’re banned. Just teach people to be responsible pet owners. Talk about training, talk about classes down at animal control, do things like that,” says Giles.
Even though the initial vote passed in favor of lifting the ban, there are still two readings left to go.
“I hope the city council will continue on this path and we still get as much support as we have,” says Giles.
“I think once this becomes more known in the city in terms of what has happened more people will speak out to keep the ban,” says Rixner.