Update: Iowa Bill Goes from Bad to Worse

The dangerous dog bill in Iowa has a new number, SF446 (formerly SSB1195), and the...

The dangerous dog bill in Iowa has a new number, SF446 (formerly SSB1195), and the breed-specific aspects of the bill have been dropped. Unfortunately, the bill is so poorly written that it now puts all dogs in jeopardy. SF446 declares all unleashed or unmuzzled dogs dangerous and never addresses the behavior of the dog itself as a criterion for determining whether it's dangerous. Furthermore, any dog that enters another person's property may be immediately seized and destroyed by the property owner without liability. No exceptions are made for dogs on their own private property, dogs used for farming, hunting, field trials or any organized dog events, or dogs that accidentally get loose from their owners. This bill is a real threat to the safety and well-being of all dogs throughout Iowa.


All Iowa dog owners will be negatively impacted by SF446 and should act now to express their opposition to lawmakers.
 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Iowa dog owners should call, write, fax, or e-mail their senator in Des Moines NOW. (Click here to find legislator contact information.) All senators may be reached through the senate switchboard at 515-281-3371.
     
  • It is especially important that we explain our opposition to the Senate Government Oversight Committee, which is sponsoring SF446 (formerly SSB1195). If your senator is on this committee, please contact him/her right away.


Sen. Mary Lundby, Chair (R-18)
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-3908 or 319-373-6639
Fax: 515-242-6108
mary.lundby@legis.state.ia.us


Sen. Bob Brunkhorst, Vice Chair (R-9)
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-3371 or 319-483-3026
bob.brunkhorst@legis.state.ia.us


Sen. Thomas G. Courtney (D-44)
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-3371 or 319-753-2684 (home)
thomas.courtney@legis.state.ia.us


Sen. Robert E. Dvorsky (D-15)
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-5909 or 319-351-0988
Fax: 515-281-6073
robert.dvorsky@legis.state.ia.us


Sen. Ron Weick (R-27)
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-3371 or 712-276-4008 (home)
ron.weick@legis.state.ia.us


POINTS TO ADDRESS:

  • We support laws that establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous.
     
  • If necessary, dogs proven to be "dangerous" may need to be humanely destroyed but that decision should be made by qualified professionals after careful review of all the evidence. Private citizens should not be allowed to destroy animals unless they pose serious imminent danger to people or other animals.
     
  • As written, SF446 requires that all dogs be muzzled or leashed at all times, even when on their own property. Not only is this an inappropriate way to identify dangerous dogs, but it also penalizes responsible owners, farmers, hunters, field trialers, and all those participating in organized dog events
    .
  • The American Kennel Club has provided the committee with model dangerous dog legislation that would effectively address the issues at hand without penalizing responsible owners or threatening the well-being of all dogs in Iowa. Lawmakers should use these models as a guide to re-write SF446.


To read the text of the bill, click here.

 

For more information on this bill or any legislation that affects dogs and their owners, please contact AKC's Canine Legislation department at doglaw@akc.org.