Animal Ordinance Update


Dangerous and Vicious Animals – Chapter 56

To review the existing ordinance or the proposed updates, please read through the downloadable files below. For a brief overview of the proposed changes, highlights have been included in red and green.

  1. Current Dangerous and Vicious Animal Ordinance
  2. Proposed Dangerous and Vicious Animal Ordinance

Revision 1: Definitions – The section indicating breed specific language is proposed to be omitted.


For use in this chapter, the following terms are defined:

1. “Dangerous animal” means the following animals: 

The bull terrier breed of dog;
The Staffordshire bull terrier breed;
The American Staffordshire terrier breed;
The American pit bull terrier breed;
Dogs of mixed breed or other breeds which are known as pit bulls,
pit bulldogs or pit bull terriers;

2. “Vicious animal” means any animal, except for a dangerous animal as listed above, that has attacked, bitten or clawed a person while running at large and the attack was unprovoked, or any animal that has exhibited vicious tendencies in present or past conduct, including such that said animal:  (i) has bitten or clawed a person or persons on two separate occasions within a 12-month period; or (ii) did bite or claw once causing injuries above the shoulders of a person; or (iii) could not be controlled or restrained by the owner at the time of the attack to prevent the occurrence; or (iv) has attacked any domestic animal or fowl on three separate occasions within a 12-month period.

Revision 2: Insurance Requirement – this section is proposed to be added.


At the discretion of city staff, a dog owner must provide proof that homeowners insurance policy does not bar this specific breed of dog. Dog breed identification is based on any formal documents the owner may have. If no breed identification documents can be obtained, it is on the best judgement of the administrator to identify the breed. Two events may initiate this process: 1. City workers observe the dog acting outside of what would be considered normal but does not meet the criteria for “Dangerous Animal” and 2. Any complaints about said dog from members of the community.

Revision 3: Penalties – this section is proposed to be added.


Any person who violates this chapter shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and shall be penalized as set forth in Chapter 3 of the Municipal Code of the City of Ely, Iowa.