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Hobart expresses regret over pit bull ban

Hobart expresses regret over pit bull ban

SIOUX CITY -- Mayor Mike Hobart said Tuesday he regrets voting to ban pit bulls in 2008 and would consider lifting that breed ban.

He also said he would consider tweaking the city's vicious-animal law but doesn't want to revisit the issues with hours of public hearings.

"I've had a lot of discussion with individuals and their desire to see that rescinded," he said of the pit bull ban, addressing the matter at the conclusion of a budget session. He said he's heard "some heart-wrenching stories. ... I would vote to rescind it tomorrow. I was never a strong proponent of it. I thought we would give some exceptions and found out too late we didn't. I think everything done by the council was with the best of intentions."

Councilman Aaron Rochester, who proposed the pit bull pan two years ago, said the measure was based on information he and the city attorney had gathered. Before the ban is lifted, he said, city staff should provide a report on whether the ban has had a positive or negative effect on dog bites.

Rochester suggested that if it is brought back, the three newly seated councilmen -- Keith Radig, Tom Padgett and John Fitch -- be briefed on the reasons the council enacted the ban.

Radig said he would support continuation of the pit bull ban, noting he's worried his children would be bitten by pit bulls running free at Headid Park.

Padgett said, "I'm not a breed specific person. I think a lot of it has to do with responsible owners. I would like to see the data." Fitch agreed, saying he would like a report on the impact the ban has had.

City Manager Paul Eckert said he will propose a way for the council to obtain recommendations from such groups as the Public Policy and Animal Control Advisory committees and others.

Regarding changes to the vicious-animal ordinance, Rochester said he has been prepared to recommend changes for months. He said, however, he does not want to discuss the vicious-animal law and the pit bull ban at the same time, contending they are separate issues.


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