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City of Muscatine to vote on updates for decade-old animal regulations

It comes amid ongoing discussions over owner's care for pets and the types of dogs allowed in the city.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Muscatine could see changes to its regulations on animals — something that has not been updated in more than a decade.

It comes amid ongoing discussions over owner's care for pets and the types of dogs allowed in the city.

"I think this community in particular is one that embraces animal ownership," said Muscatine City Administrator Carol Webb.

The city's regulations on animals will mostly focus on dogs.

"Very significant changes to the code," said Muscatine Police Captain Anthony Kies. "And it will be more for holding owners responsible."

The new rules would include the difference between a dangerous and vicious dog. The updates would ban vicious dogs, but the new code says dangerous pups must be kept on a leash, in a limited area and owners must display warning signs.

"We did not have code language that was specific to that prior, if sort of fell under dangerous and vicious animals," Webb said.

The city is also looking to add restrictions on tethering, from distance to collars that can be used. 

"We're not doing anything necessarily as a reaction measure to some incidents, it's really about how we move the community forward," Webb said.

Those discussions have already been at the forefront in Muscatine surrounding pit bulls. That ban has been temporarily lifted until May.

"I feel like the community has been very supportive in ensuring we have the right code to protect the safety and health of the public," Webb said.

The new guidelines would also lay out the owner's responsibility to keep them with adequate care including vaccinations.

"I think it's big for helping the community stay safe and then some ownership," Kies said.

Penalties would increase under the new rules from $65 to more than $105.

A final vote on the measure is set for March 3.

To view the full proposed animal code, click here.

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