116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The woman was found dead in a ditch with the dogs nearby
ROSSIE — A northwest Iowa woman who was found in a ditch died after being attacked by her five Great Danes.
A man found the woman, Mindy Kiepe, 43, of Rossie. in a rural area of Clay County on Monday but couldn't get close to her because of the dogs, according to KTIV-TV.
The man called the Clay County Sheriff's Office, and deputies determined the woman had died. The state medical examiner said Wednesday that Kiepe died of multiple dog bites.
An investigation determined Kiepe's Great Danes caused her death. The dogs were euthanized, the sheriff’s office said.
Kiepe lived at a farm near where her body was found.
Kiepe’s death follows that of a young woman who was killed March 28 by a pack of feral dogs on the Meskwaki Settlement near Tama. Eleven of the dogs were later identified and killed, Meskwaki police said.
The Meskwaki woman’s death was the sixth fatal dog attack in Iowa since 2010, the Des Moines Register reported, citing the Texas nonprofit dogsbite.org. The organization said 51 people were killed in the nation in dog attacks in 2021 — though that number still is being reviewed — with 46 fatal dog attacks reported in 2020.
In Linn County, an 8-year-old boy was attacked by two dogs in Springville last Friday and hospitalized with bite injuries to his head, face, arms and legs, according to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.
The dogs — a mastiff-pit bull mix and a pit-bull mix — were placed in quarantine, one at a veterinary clinic and the other at the Cedar Valley Humane Society, Maj. Chad Colston of the sheriff’s office said.
Colston said no adult saw the attack, and “nobody knows exactly what happened. We’ve got an 8-year-old child who is our only witness, and with the number of bites on the child, both dogs joined in.”
Linn County doesn’t have a breed-specific animal ordinance, but it does have a “vicious animal ordinance” for “rare” cases like these, Colston said.
The dogs will be euthanized if Linn County Public Health, Cedar Valley Humane Society and the sheriff’s office determine the dogs are vicious. The owners, who are cooperating with the investigation, have the opportunity to appeal that decision.
The attack in Linn County comes amid a push in neighboring Benton County and some of its cities to repeal breed-ban ordinances.
Benton County and the cities of Keystone and Vinton have bans on pit bulls. Last month, owners of pit bulls in Keystone received verbal warnings of the ban. In addition to the city ordinance, Benton County has its own ordinance that prohibits pit bulls and other dogs that have “the characteristics” of pit bulls.
The warnings came after a 2-year-old girl was attacked June 18 by a “stray or abandoned pit bull-style dog” in Keystone. The dog was euthanized.
Benton County Sheriff Ron Tippett told The Gazette last month that the office did not give any official notices to residents, just a “verbal heads up” reminding them of the ordinance. He said there was no plan to remove the dogs.
The Keystone City Council didn’t take any action this month after residents pleaded to let them keep their dogs.
In Iowa, dozens of cities have breed-specific bans like Keystone’s, including Belle Plaine, Cascade, Centerville, Columbus Junction, Council Bluffs, Monticello, Ottumwa, Vinton, Walcott, Waukon and Winterset.
But some cities have repealed breed-specific ordinances in recent years, including Sioux City, Muscatine, Maquoketa, Anamosa and Ely.
Gage Miskimen of The Gazette contributed to this article.