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City Council approves the first reading of ordinance amending pit bull ban

SIOUX CITY (KTIV)- Since 2008, the city of Sioux City has banned the ownership of any dog that more than 50-percent pit bull.

That ban has been challenged a number of times.

Now, the city is one step closer to lifting the prohibition.

At Monday night’s Sioux City City Council meeting, city leaders approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the ban on pit bulls.

This is only the first reading on the matter, and it will have to pass two more times to change the city code.

Residents packed city council chambers, Monday night, to discuss the ordinance amending the pit bull ban.

Both sides were represented.

“Pit bulls are dangerous animals, I’m gonna stand by that statement,” said James Rixner, Against Lifting Pit Bull Ban

“Pit bulls are clowns of the dog world,” said Gregory Giles, Supports Lifting Pit Bull Ban. “They’re loving couch potatoes.”

One resident, who opposes an end to the ban on any dog that’s more than a 50-percent pit bull, has talked about this topic before.

“When we researched this and did this 10 years ago, we unanimously, on the council that I was on–it was controversial at the time– but we did the right thing,” adds Rixner. “Pit bull is kind of unique in a variety of different ways. Including the degeneration of their brain as they get older- and sometimes you have an inexplicable attack.”

Others say that pit bulls should not be singled out.

“The fact of the matter is, that all dogs will bite,” said Giles. “A german shepherd will bite, a rottweiler will bite, a poodle will bite. To ban a specific breed is short-sighted in the long-term.”

The council was torn, as well. Council Member Pete Groetken was the lone “no” vote on the ordinance.

“I would have a horrible time personally, and I don’t mind saying this if I voted ‘yes’ and then a week, a month, a year later, someone gets seriously injured or worse,” said Pete Groetken, Sioux City City Council.

“When you have 5% are pit bull bites, and 95% other dog bites, that’s telling you something,” said Rhonda Capron, Sioux City City Council. “There’s plenty of dogs out there that will bite. And they can be little or big.”

The city council will meet next Monday, and encourage residents to come and voice their opinion on the matter.

“It’s the breeding behind, the humans behind the dog that make a dog bite,” said Giles. “So if you don’t neuter your dog if you let your dog run wild and it’s in-tact, it’s gonna bite people. That’s just the way it works.”

“If we save one child from getting hurt seriously by a pit bull, it was worth it,” adds Rixner.

According to municipal code, the poundmaster of the City of Sioux City is authorized to immediately impound any pit bull found in the city that isn’t properly licensed.

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – The Sioux City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the ban on pit bulls.

The council approved the first reading 4-1, with Councilman Pete Groetken opposing the ordinance.

For the ordinance to pass, the council would have to approve two more readings.

This comes 10 years after the city council made it unlawful to own, transport or sell any pit bull within city limits. City leaders are now being asked to repeal the ban.

On Monday, several residents came to the council meeting to discuss repealing the ban.

Some residents argued pit bulls are loving dogs and that they are not the most dangerous dogs out there.

During the meeting, Councilwoman Rhonda Capron said she wants to lift the ban. Capron added that she owns a pit bull herself that was grandfathered in when the ban took place years ago.

“Of course you’re going to have a bad apple…you can’t judge a dog by the way it looks, just like you can’t judge a person,” said Capron.

But others at the meeting said they’ve seen what a pit bull attack can do to people and that the ban should stay in place.

Under current city code, any dog with 51-percent, or more, pit bull mix are not allowed to live within city limits.

The city of Sioux City has had a ban on owning any dog with a mix of pit bull breeding since 2008.

Since then, the ban has been challenged a number of times.

The ban defines a pit bull as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog which has predominant appearances and characteristics similar to these breeds.

All pit bulls in Sioux City that were properly licensed and registered before the ban was passed can live within the city.

According to municipal code, the poundmaster of the City of Sioux City is authorized to immediately impound any pit bull found in the city that isn’t properly licensed.

Tonight on News 4 at Ten KTIV’s Jennifer Lenzini will have a full recap of Monday’s council meeting.

Jennifer Lenzini

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