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Muscatine temporarily lifts its pit bull ban

Muscatine City Council members voted 5-2 to temporarily stop enforcement of the city's pit bull ban.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Pit bulls will be allowed in Muscatine after the city's ban was temporarily lifted on Thursday, Jan. 13. 

Muscatine city council members voted 5-2 vote to halt the ruling after hearing community members give their thoughts at Thursday's council meeting.

Community and council members in favor of revoking the ban said they are looking for ways to change the law to focus on more aggressive dogs in general.

RELATED: Police investigating after dog shot and killed in Bettendorf

"I think the more appropriate measure would be to take action against all vicious dogs, and it seems like that's what (the city council is) going for," pit bull owner Kaleb Hopkins said. "I think it'd benefit pet owners and the community … making them feel safer if they were regulations and punishments for irresponsible owners."

The approved moratorium took effect immediately and will expire May 11.

Any previous citations already issued will not be revoked, and the temporary ruling doesn't affect the city's rules on "vicious or dangerous animals."

Muscatine's ban on pit bulls was first established in 2003 due to community complaints about the dog breed.

Muscatine Assistant Police Chief Steve Snider said multiple pit-bull related incidents occurred in the early 2000s.

“I can document at least five different times that we had to shoot pit bulls,” Snider said in October to News 8. “Anytime we have to discharge a weapon in the street, it’s a danger to the public.”

RELATED: Kewanee PD releases body cam footage showing officer shoot pit bull

Community members reportedly complained of attacks on people, pets and other animals. Snider said there was also a surplus of pit bulls at the county's animal shelter due to lack of adoption.

For over 17 years, there have been signs posted around the city. Most notably, signs at Muscatine dog parks read, "No pit bulls allowed" or "No dogs that have similar appearances and characteristics" to the breed.

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