Rural Des Moines County pups be warned: the county government now has a means to deal with misbehaving dogs.
The Des Moines County Board of Supervisors' final public hearing to pass a long-debated animal control ordinance devolved into debate between supervisors and Dale Oaks, the lone county resident showing up to protest the ordinance.
The supervisors argue the law's current version will only impact irresponsible dog owners. During the past year, they've weakened drafted ordinances little by little until arriving at this one, which creates an animal control board but does not include the attached misdemeanor charges and leash law once included in the ordinance's wording.
Oaks contended the ordinance is created for "city people" who live in subdivisions outside of incorporated areas. He asked supervisors to consider making the ordinance only apply to people in housing developments, not farmers and scattered county residents.
"Separate the subdivisions from the farms," Oaks said. "We've got enough trouble just having em there, let alone having the rules be all for them."
Oaks also asked why they would make an ordinance in response to Judy Mennen's report of her son being bitten by a dog, because her son was on her neighbor's property and therefore the bite wouldn't be covered by the ordinance.
Supervisor Tom Broeker addressed the latter point, saying that because Mennen's son had been invited onto the property, the dog wouldn't have been biting "unprovoked," as per language in the ordinance. An invitation negates a trespassing claim, Broeker said, so the board could've helped Mennen's situation. Mennen also spoke up, saying "My son was invited onto the property. The dog has a history of biting. It chased a neighbor and tore through his jeans [he was] while riding a four-wheeler, and it aggressively ran after and growled at I don't know how many other people."
As for the first point, most of the room contested Oaks. The first situation, a pack of mean dogs allowed to run wild in a remote part of the county, certainly isn't a matter of "city people" pushing their laws on the county, argued Board Chairman Bob Beck. Sheriff Mike Johnstone spoke up too, saying "it has nothing to do with subdivisions."
In the end, the board unanimously approved the ordinance.
Supervisors are now looking for members of an animal control board. Anyone wanting to be considered for an appointment to the board ought to contact the county auditor's office by sending an email to email@example.com or calling (319) 753-8232. They'll be accepting notices of interest through Nov. 28 and want a diversity of genders, backgrounds and dog opinions.
Tuesday the board also approved a zoning request that likely will turn controversial in its next stage.
Lea and Marc Zaiser had a rezoning request for a development they're seeking on Upper Flint Road a little east of U.S. 61. They want to develop land they own there, but an actual plat for how many homes are involved isn't available yet.
Some neighboring property owners are already up in arms about it with concerns about housing density and traffic flows, but not much can be confirmed on those concerns until after the usual plat process actually begins.