MANLY — Yvonne Meyer and her boyfriend, Patrick Eastman, said they had no idea Manly had an ordinance saying they could not keep a pit bull at their residence when they moved to town from Las Vegas.
“But now, four days after a (council) meeting, we have to say goodbye to her?” Meyer said. “That’s really unfair.”
On Jan. 3, the Manly City Council voted to uphold its ban on pit bulls in town.
Although the ban had been in place since 2008 as part of the town’s vicious dog ordinance, the ordinance had not be enforced.
That changes today, according to city officials.
By today, Manly pit bull owners have to remove their dogs from their residences.
For at least two couples, it’s a hard thing to do.
Meyer said she and Eastman will move from the community rather than give up their dog, named Hyfie, 7.
“She’s part of our family; like one of our children,” Meyer said.
In the meantime, a friend in another community will take Hyfie.
Eastman and Meyer both said their dog had never been aggressive.
Eastman said he understands the need for a vicious dog ordinance, “but to ban a certain breed — that’s not right. That’s a joke.”
Mike and Shelly Romine have found themselves in the same situation. They have had Maverick, 4, for some time. They hope a nephew in Indiana will take the dog. In the meantime, their son, who lives in another town, will baby sit.
“He’s a good dog,” Mike Romine said.
He said he had read that some other cities’ dog ordinances have been ruled as unconstitutional; others are ruled constitutional.
“We may fight this; we haven’t decided,” he said.
The latest discussion came up because some said the vicious dog ordinance served no good until after someone was hurt, according to Councilman Scott Heagel, speaking during a meeting in November.
“Every dog can be vicious,” Heagel, a Mason City mail carrier, said then. “The thing about the ‘pits’ is when they attack, they don’t stop.”
But Eastman said that is true of more than pit bulls.
Romine agreed, adding he knew of a local German shepherd dog he felt was dangerous and more of a threat than his pit bull.
The ordinance defines dangerous animals as those “capable of killing or inflicting serious injury,” wild animals such as wolves, coyotes and alligators, and pit bull dogs.
Mayor Kevin Isaacson said he voted for the ordinance in 2008. However, he said he had changed his mind since that time. When raised for discussion earlier last year, however, the council did not act to rescind the ordinance.
Isaacson said in November that he did not believe it was good to have an ordinance on the books without enforcement. As a result, pit bull owners were contacted by the city about the ordinance.
“That (vicious dog ordinance) I can agree with; but when you get breed-specific, it’s like racial profiling,” Romine said.
“And in the long run, I think they will come back to haunt them.”
That a threat ?