Officials Changing Dangerous Dog Ordinance in Altoona

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


ALTOONA, Iowa – Despite controversy regarding the safety of pit bulls as pets, the City of Altoona is changing the language in its dog ordinance so as to not single this specific breed out.

As the current ordinance reads, pit bulls – as well as several other dogs commonly viewed as “dangerous” – are not allowed in city limits. Officers say, however, as you read on in the ordinance, it begins to contradict itself, stating they are allowed, assuming certain provisions are met. Ultimately, the Altoona Police Department says they were spending a lot of time determining if specific owners could keep their dogs or not, even when no dangerous incident had occurred.

“It worked for awhile, but then it got very confusing,” said Detective Jason Ferguson of the Altoona Police Department of the ordinance. “We started getting mixed breeds, (or) the dog looked like a pitbull. Then it got hard for the officers, and the city officials – we’re not experts in the K-9 field. So, for us to be able to say, ‘This dog is this breed,’ – we don’t know.”

The new proposed language for the ordinance doesn’t single any specific breed of dog out. Rather, a dangerous incident – such as the dog biting or attacking someone – would have to occur for law enforcement to step in and deem the dog “vicious.”

“That way it holds the owner responsible, regardless of the type of dog that it is – or animal it is –  as opposed to that breed,” he said. “We related it to, you know, ‘You’ve got to have an incident first to get us there.'”

This comes after a pit bull – originally deemed “vicious” and sentenced to death by the City of West Des Moines – was allowed to live and go through rehabilitation last week. Altoona police say, however, the effort to get their city’s ordinance changed has been in the process for much longer than that and is not related. City council members are expected to approve the new language of the ordinance this week.


  • Mark

    Jason Ferguson is a spineless dick… however,, currently,, as I understand the law,, the owner is resposible for the dogs actions,, similar to a juvenile’s actions are the legal responsible parents.

  • Suzanne

    I think it is the owners who make their dogs mean. I have had a mix pit for 12 years. She is a good girl. I can day one thing. Pets, just like kids. Some people should not have them.

  • nancy

    These evil disgusting breed of dog havta go time n time again they have maimed n killed , no other breed compares to them n people need to stop blaming the owners that also has been proven untrue made them to be fighting dogs not household pets no matter how sweet n nice they seem they attack n kill with no warning at any age u could have that thing for years w/o incident then boom they go pit!! These animals r dangerous with so many other breeds out there these stupid people obtain these things then r in complete shock when their dna kicks in its time to ban them entirely before more kids, adults n other worthy animals fall victim!! They’ve proven over n over again they can’t be trusted !! Someone please name me a day when they werent in the news from 2004 to now ? Enough is enough how many more people havta die because of this good for nothing breed man made to fight til the death which I might add they excel at

    • Breath

      You feel better now? Seems to me that you just had a so called “pit” moment.. Grow up and open your eyes nancy! Animals are like children, you frame them! The best part about animals is you are always in control! A good parent to their beloved pet doesn’t allow a moment like you just had. Smh sometimes you just have to love the stereotypical ones in the world…

    • Suzanne

      What are you talking about. I am not going to put you down but I will say that you are very quick to blame the dog breed. Maybe you need to Inform yourself a little more. People like you are quick to judge and categorize without getting facts.

      • nancy

        Suzanne I blame man for creating this breed for aggression n to fight n realize it is not the animals fault ..they were not created to be family dogs , I’m sure there’s a few who never attack their whole life but as we can see the majority do n when they do its deadly !! They give no warnings prior to an attack like most dogs do n when they latch on they do for life n its not bad owners as they have people brainwashed look at darla napora she was a huge advocate of the breed n raised her pit gunner from a pup with love n care n it repaid by killing her n her unborn child

      • Suzanne

        Nancy, I see you can not see beyond the nose on you face. I am not going to sit here and argue with you. You have your OPINION. You can throw around a story which is very sad or pi k another but we WILL have to agree to disagree.

      • nancy

        Suzanne I’m not throwin around stories can’t u just look up what I’m saying its all there hust open your eyes!! U seem like a very sweet caring individual full of compassion n that’s great but ur ignoring n refuse. To see the facts jyst take some time n research I spent four years because I was. Like u couldn’t believe it kept trying to prove them wrong n it was I cause I truly love dogs I can’t tell you how many dogs over the years I’ve rescued n rehomed n I spent 3, 400 on my 4yr old dachshund cause he was beaten n abused tw o yrs ago n knew another year in this man’s house he’d be a goner n the only way he’d give me peppino was for that amount n not to mention 850 at vet afterwards n worth every cent!!! So please just do the research n you’ll see

    • Anna Zemke

      Nancy your ignorance is appalling…go back to school and get an education before you start spewing crap that doesn’t make sense…your grammar and spelling are atrocious!

      • nancy

        Anna ur the one in need of an education. Im well educated n u clearly r not so perhaps you pea sized brain will grasp this pits are always in the wrong hands because the right hands have too much common sense to own them!! Can ur little mind grasp that ?

    • Jennifer

      Really wish I could find the story about the pitbull who SAVED a little boy, but can’t fix stupid with some people anyway so there is no point.

    • i2papi1123

      Your just as ignorant as half the city officials out there! Try pulling your head out of your arse ever now and again to get in touch with reality.

      You know, chow chows were bread to kill as well right? They were bread to protect their family at all costs! Hell they were meant to aid its owner in taking out a wild boar, deer and even bears! Those animals can easily be 2-3 times the chows size and they were meant to kill it!

      From that ridiculous comment, you are also saying all chows should be slaughtered as well, am I correct? What about rotties, they loom mean as all hell, should we kill them off as well?

      Try knowing what it is you are talking about before flapping your gums! You just look like a giant moron!

      • nancy

        So tired of thi said all other breeds combined don’t make up a quarter of the attacks that pits do thes e r not stories I’m making up try researching. Like I have for the past four years can u not see pits r the only breed in media everyday ..chows were not bred for fighting otherwise they’d be the problem no other breeds combined do a quarter of the attacks n kills that pits do look it up don’t take my word for it jeez

    • Autumn

      Hey Nancy, have you ever owned a Pit Bull or a Pit mix? If not, then I suggest you keep your lips shut. There are a whole helluva lot of Pit Bull owners out there that have NEVER had any issues with them (myself included!) and I’m sick and tired of people like YOU trying to exterminate my breed. YOU are the biggest part of the problem with your close minded beliefs. Comments like yours make me run over to my Pit Bull and hug him & kiss him because I know what a sweetie he truly is and your words hurt us pet parents that are PPM’S (proud Pit Bull mommas) I suggest you volunteer at your local animal shelter and see if your view of Pit Bull’s remains the same…you may be surprised to learn Pit Bull’s CAN be trusted.

    • tammy

      Your ignorant mabey somebody should put you to sleep. I am a proud owner of two pittbulls. Whom have never even so much as growled at anyone. If your mean to your dog’s they will be mean. If you raise them with love they will be loving affectionate animals. This goes for any bread of animal. When I was young I was attacked by a cocker spanial. So tell me should that bread of dog be deamed vicious. You should really stop judging so harshly.

      • Suzanne

        Unfortunately the same people can not see beyond the nose on their face. I have a pitix. Best pet I have ever had. No sense arguing with these people they will live in small world.

      • Nancy

        No somebody should pts u tammy oh thats right u own a shitbull at some point he’ll take care of you….n it breed not bread…futhermore a spaniel isn’t going to put u in hospital or cemetery your shitbull does

      • Nancy

        No somebody should pts u oh that’s right u own a shitbull its only matter of time before your pts…n dear its breed not bread…..futhermore a cocker spaniel won’t put u in icu or the cemetery but the shitbulls will…. clearly ur a lowly trailer park type that follows the mindless

  • Animal lover

    Whoa Nancy!
    You are so highly uneducated. It’s not just the breed that is mean. Working with animals my whole life I have met more mean labradors and chihuahuas than pit bulls.
    You need to check yourself sister.

  • Jennifer

    Nancy I couldn’t even read the garbage you just wrote because of all the spelling errors. Get an education and then learn about breeds of dogs before you open your trap about something you don’t know.

    • nancy

      It is you Jennifer who is misinformed!! N I’m sure u understood everything I wrote.I’m sure your stupidity n ignorance will land u an airlift or final trip to the cemetery like the others that were gullible n without brains its usually the hard way to learn with people like you

      • tammy meza

        I think it’s time someone put a muzzle on you. Your ignorance is appalling. Humans have a bread that should be deamed vicious as well and you should be the first to labeled. You should be treated the same as you treat those poor dogs. Then mabey you’ll open your eyes and not be so ignorant.

  • John

    I agree, people need to educate themselves. Check out fot some facts about Pit Bulls and other viscious breeds.

      • markdsm

        32 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2013. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 700 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 78% (25) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population.2
        Together, pit bulls (25) and rottweilers (1), the second most lethal dog breed, accounted for 81% of the total recorded deaths in 2013. This same combination accounted for 74% of all fatal attacks during the 9-year period of 2005 to 2013.

        Quite a lot of evidence to consider them vicious Jennifer, you’re letting your personal feelings get the better of you. While I do sympathize for the breeds (not their fault humans breed them that way) there is no way in hell i’ll let my kids around one, not going to play the lottery with my kids’ lives.

      • Suzanne

        I understand how you feel. Being a pit bull owner unfortunately they do have some bad owner. I respect that and will always have control of her around people. But fortunately everyone wants to meet her. Now she is 13 but I can say one thing. When she was 3, 4 chi wawa s attacked her ankles. You know what she did. She looked at me like, what the heck are they. I have seen bad owners of all breeds and it saddens me. I 100 percent see where you are coming from.

  • Mike

    Thanks for some facts Markdsm. Seem to speak for themselves! How many times have I heard that a family pit bull was a loving family pet until something sets them off and they attack? Plenty of more docile breeds out there to choose from. I have a temperamental Chihuahua, but it’s not able to kill or maim anyone!

    • nancy

      Just answer one question y do people who r pro pits ignore all the facts ? I was one of them til I couldn’t refute the facts any longer I spent 4 years trying to refute but I simply could not n yet lots do why?

      • Mary

        It is not that we ignore the facts, its that we dont pick and choose which ones to listen to. You only listen to all of the bad things you hear. We listen to the bad and the good and understand that there are some bad owners that are the reason for the bad actions. You have said in past comments that they were bred for fighting. No, they werent. They were bred for hunting, like many other breeds. People decide to train there dogs to fight, keyword in that statement is Train, HUMANS teach them to do it!

    • Mary

      What I have said is the truth. I understand that some people have misplaced fear in what is one of my favorite breeds, and I will continue to try to educate them. It is people like this that are the reason so many innocent dogs have lost their lives. People fearing what they don’t understand have caused multiple friends of mine to lose their beloved pets. A cop actually shot one of their dogs because it was INSIDE of her house barking. The officer wasn’t even merciful enough to shoot to kill, he shot the dog causing fatal damage, but it stayed alive and suffered until the owner got home. Once again this was a dog confined to his own house just barking (like many dogs do), and an officer who feared a breed he simply did not understand.

      • Nancy

        Wow now pitbull s were bred for hunting..they were bred for fighting period n it is their dna that cannot be bred god u people just keep up the bs n this is y u have no credability!!! Man created a mean fight to the death fighting dog to make them money n for entertainment this is what u own

  • Adam

    We shouldn’t have to walk around in fear because the city is too spineless to ban a breed of dog. It’s just a dog, get a different breed. I’m tired of seeing people be killed on the news by pit bulls, we need to get rid of all pit bulls forever. No one needs a pit bull get some other breed of dog like a poodle. Oh what’s wrong, poodle’s aren’t scary enough? They don’t kill people? You don’t need a killer dog

  • Tawrens

    Shouldn’t a vicious dog have been determined by a dog who bit/attacked someone from day 1 instead of canine discrimination?

    • Nancy

      Tawrens your an ugly troll who is beyond uneducated .do some research on the breed instead of making yourself look stupid as you usually do scumbag

  • Steven Mann

    deleted? For what? Swearing…nope. Offensiveness…not quite. But my comment was removed solely because I demonstrated the urgent need for BSL below a feel good story like this. Ohio has recently removed pit bulls as dangerous dogs, and there have been immediate subsequent deaths and maulings as a result. Does anybody care? I guess the moderators of these comments wants to exercise their stance as well? Silence the people.

Comments are closed.