Des Moines restricts dangerous dogs

Two new items of business were passed at the final Des Moines City Council meeting for the 2012 year.

Updating appeal procedures and licensing requirements for dangerous dogs was passed 5-2, and an ordinance defining one-time revenue and creating a phased in expenditure requirement was passed 6-1.

Master Animal Control Officer Jan Magnuson gave a presentation to the council recommending the changes to increase public safety as well as to limit costs.

Some of the changes include requiring potentially dangerous or dangerous dogs to be neutered or spayed and requiring all vet bills to be paid prior to issuance of a certificate of registration.

It also allows for a microchip to be used rather than a tattoo and allows vet discretion as to the placement, according to Draft Ordinance 11-021.

Dangerous dogs are already required to wear a bright orange collar with the words danger written in bold black. Now potentially dangerous dogs will have to wear the collar as well.

“I think that’s a marvelous tool,” said Councilmember Carmen Scott.

Scott said that bright orange danger collars would be able to signal to young children that the particular dog was dangerous and not to go near it.

“It gives us more latitude to impound at a later time,” said Officer Magnuson.

The ordinance passed 5-2 with Mayor Pro Tem Pina and Councilmember Jeanette Burrage voting against it.

The discussion then moved on to the ordinance was restricting the uses of one-time money.

“An ordinance is overkill, an ordinance has the power of law,” said Councilmember Bob Sheckler. “I’d like to see it go through as a resolution.”

“I think it’s been way too easy for us to keep using one –time money,” said Mayor Dave Kaplan. “At least with an ordinance you are going to do it, rather than a maybe.”

Sheckler argued that no one knew what the economy would be like in 2015 and that if it doesn’t turn around the ordinance might have to be rescinded.

“Put it in as a resolution, don’t tie the people’s hand with an ordinance,” said Sheckler.

“Nothing binds a future council, they can do or undo anything we’ve done today,” responded Kaplan.

Kaplan said that by putting it in as an ordinance, even if the city does end up rescinding it at some point in the future, at least some money will have been saved for a few years, which might not have been otherwise.

The ordinance was passed 6-1 with Councilmember Sheckler opposing it.

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