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Pit bull

FOREST CITY | Forest City residents who spoke at a public meeting on Aug. 1 told the City Council about their experiences -- good or bad -- with pit bulls.

"They are the most precious dogs I have ever been around," said Megan Duncan. 

She said a friend of hers has a pit bull as a service animal that calms him down when he's having panic attacks. 

Duncan, who grew up in Leland, used to have a pit bull. 

"She was the goofiest thing ever," she said. 

Jennifer Ackerman had a different story to tell the council members, who are considering lifting the city's ban on pit bulls. 

She said her 6-year-old daughter was bitten by her father's pit bull when visiting him in Mason City. 

"It almost tore her ear off," she said, noting her daughter also had to have staples in her head.

If the dog's teeth had torn a jugular vein, the little girl could have died, according to Ackerman. 

Ackerman said the attack was totally unexpected because her daughter had played with the pit bull since she was very young. 

Ackerman, who works as a Forest City dispatcher, said so far she hasn't had to send out an ambulance because of a dog bite and she wants to keep it that way. 

The pit bull ban has been in effect in Forest City for 10 to 12 years, said City Administrator Barb Smith. 

The ban is part of the city's Dangerous and Vicious Animal Ordinance, which lists pit bull breeds -- along with raccoons, opossums and skunks -- as dangerous animals not allowed as pets. 

In June the City Council received a petition signed by more than 100 people asking that the pit bull ban be lifted. 

Around 20 city residents came to the Aug. 1 public meeting on the issue.

Hannah Niederkofker said pit bulls "can be very loyal and loving." 

She said there's more good pit bulls out there than bad ones.

"I believe every dog should have an equal opportunity to be part of this community," she said. 

Karla Weiss said she's fine with the city having a vicious animal ordinance as long as no specific breed of dog is banned. 

"We have bad owners, not bad dogs," she said. "It's how they are treated."

Kathy Rollefson said Centers for Disease Control records on fatal dog bites include breeds considered good family pets such as golden retrievers. 

Phyllis Disque said a friend of hers from Belmond was attacked twice by the same pit bull.

Disque said once they bite, "pit bulls will not let go." 

"Pit bulls are a ticking time bomb," she said.

"Any breed can be a ticking time bomb," Duncan said. 

The City Council is expected to make a decision soon on whether to lift the pit bull ban. 

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