116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Benton sheriff: No dogs in Keystone are being removed right now
City’s pit bull ordinance will likely be addressed Thursday
Pet owners in Keystone warned they have to give up their pit bulls are getting a reprieve — at least for now — as the Benton County sheriff said there currently are no plans to remove any dogs from their owners.
Last week, owners of pit bulls in the small Benton County town were given verbal warning of the ordinance that bans the dogs in city limits. 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 county seat of Vinton also has an ordinance banning pit bulls.
Several Keystone residents said they were visited by a member of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office last week and told they had seven to 10 days to remove the dogs or the animals would be forcibly removed.
But Sheriff Ron Tippett told The Gazette that the office did not give any official notices to residents, just a “verbal heads up” reminding them of the ordinance, so there were no plans to remove the dogs.
“I believe there were five residences contacted,” Tippett said. “There have been no notices served to date as the city of Keystone is in contact with their attorney.”
The city does not have its own police department, so it contracts with the county sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement in town.
Tippett confirmed that the warnings came after a 2-year old girl was attacked by a “stray or abandoned pit bull-style dog” in Keystone on June 18. The girl was taken to the hospital, and her father contacted authorities.
Law enforcement took the dog to a veterinary clinic in Belle Plaine. An owner for the dog was never identified and the animal was euthanized.
Tippett added that there has been no contact with any of the residents since they were given the warning July 22.
“I may direct that same guy to contact them and say ‘It’s all still up in the air,’ but again, they have not been served a notice,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about time running out.”
Tippett confirmed that the residences received warnings about their dogs after a deputy received a list of addresses from the city. “Keystone is a small place,” he said. “They pretty well know who has dogs and who doesn’t. It’s a small town.”
Currently, the city is planning to address the issue at the next Keystone City Council meeting on Thursday Tippett said he spoke with Mayor Mark Andresen last Friday.
“They’ll know better after the meeting on the fourth,” Tippett said. “And I hope the ordinance is addressed.”
Humane Society State Director Preston Moore said he talked to some of the families involved and said they’re “beyond relieved for the moment.”
“One of the families were planning on taking their dog to a family members’ home as early as Saturday morning and they can now breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” Moore said.
He added that he, along with the families, will be attending the City Council meeting to call for a suspension of enforcement of the breed restrictions, followed by a permanent solution of getting rid of the ordinance.
“These individual dogs have done nothing wrong and these households hope to keep their families intact in Benton County for many years to come,” Moore said.
Comments: (319) 398-8255; firstname.lastname@example.org