DES MOINES, Iowa -- Pinky the Pit Bull could be heading back home for the first time in two years after a split decision by the Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
Des Moines Police impounded Pinky in March 2016 after the dog attacked a neighbor's cat. The city ruled that Pinky should be put down after labeling the dog as dangerous under a city ordinance.
However on Wednesday the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled in a split-decision that the city's ordinance on dangerous animals is too vague. The court ordered Pinky to be returned to his family unless the city appeals to the Iowa Supreme Court. The city says it is considering all options at this time:
"The City respects the legal process, but was disappointed with this ruling by a profoundly split Iowa Court of Appeals. The City believes that the
dissenting opinions contain the correct analysis in this case.
The undisputed facts are that this dog was first observed by a neighbor running unattended on her property, with her cat being violently shaken within the dog’s jaws. The cat suffered substantial injuries, including degloving where extensive sections of the cat’s skin were completely torn from underlying tissue. The cat required immediate medical attention and 36 staples to close its wounds. The dog had been previously found to be a high risk animal, was not licensed and lacked current rabies tags as legally required.
The matter was tried in two separate administrative hearings before two separate Administrative Law Judges, both of whom found that the City properly declared the dog in violation of the City’s Dangerous Dog Ordinance. That decision was later affirmed by an Iowa District Court Judge.
The dog remains humanely confined with regular exercise and veterinary care, just as it has throughout its confinement. The matter has continued to be litigated and the dog continued to be held only because Ms. Helmers—who has no prior relationship to the dog—has rejected repeated offers from the City since March 2017 to resolve the matter by sending the dog to a “No Kill Shelter” out of the State of Iowa for potential adoption.
The City will assess all of its options and move forward accordingly at the appropriate time."