We’re fighting the “pit bull” dog ban in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Countless stories of dog owners hiding in bedrooms or bathrooms with their dogs, accounts of people begging for their dogs not to be killed – that’s what we found when we issued a FOIA request for animal control records in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was one heartbreaking account after another, often riddled with value judgments and assumptions about dog owners made by the animal control officers.

Council Bluffs’ “pit bull” dog ban was established in 2004. Since then, it has violated the constitutional rights of dog owners. We’re helping local dog owners take the city to court, because no one should have to choose between their family member and their home.

We’ve already invested $150,000 in the case and with your help, we can invest even more.

Our intention is to change the law. No one profits from our court cases in that no punitive damages or retribution is received by the plaintiff.

“[She] came around the corner with her pit bull “Baby.” Lisa was sobbing and hysterical [sic] screaming we were going to kill her dog.”

– One animal control officer’s account of seizing a person’s dog.

Bans like this are known as breed-specific legislation or BSL. They often include a variety of dogs, not just those perceived to be “pit bulls.” We think BSL is the cruelest law pet owners can be subjected to and we are taking it head-on in a way that has never been done before. On behalf of dog owners, we have hired a national law firm well-versed in constitutional law that also has a thorough understanding of the canine genome.

It is our position that BSL violates the 5th and 14th amendments. Our claim survived a summary judgment in federal district court in Sioux City, IA. That case never went to trial, as the lawsuit prompted local officials to repeal the ban because they knew they were unlikely to prevail in court.

In 2015, after fearing for her dog’s life, Amanda Jungman rehomed her dog out of state. Stitch, Amanda’s dog, died two years later, separated from the family who loved her and who still grieve for her.

We hope officials in Council Bluffs will do the right thing like Sioux City did, and end discrimination against dog owners.

We plan to help every dog owner affected by BSL, just like we’re doing in Council Bluffs and just like we did in Sioux City. By the time we are done, no more families will have to live under the threat of breed-specific legislation.

Your donation will help us continue to fight discrimination against dog owners and keep dogs and people together.

Because all dogs and all people
are individuals.

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