Thursday, August 9, 2012

SAC CITY — A Sac City woman must expel her 10-month-old pit bull from city limits and pay about $150 in fines after she entered guilty pleas to simple misdemeanor charges last Tuesday, according to court records.

Mindy England, 42, was served a notice from Sac City police on June 10 that the pit bull violated a city ordinance that bans that specific dog breed and other dogs with a propensity for violence.

England and her boyfriend Harry Minteer, 26, plan to move from Sac City into the countryside where they can keep their dog, a red nose and razor back pit bull mix named Nixon James.

Minteer said his dog is not dangerous and has not exhibited any violent behavior.

When England failed to remove the dog from her residence at 1003 Audubon St., she was charged with possession of a pit bull, a crime that violates Sac City ordinance 55.11 prohibiting ownership within city limits of “any dog that has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of the bull terrier.”

England will pay a total of $147.75 in fines – $65 for the violation and $60 for court costs with a surcharge of $22.75 – and must remove the dog from city limits within 10 days, court records show.

Neighbors notified police of the dog about nine months ago, police said.

The most recent allegation follow a history of other dog-related complaints levied against England about the two other dogs on her property near the Sac City Public Library, including two incidents of biting another dog, police said.

England has faced eight counts since 2006 for failure to keep her dogs contained on a leash and preventing them from running loose in the streets, according to court records.

Sac City’s pit-bull ban was enacted about 22 years ago after a string of dog biting in the area, including a young girl who required hospitalization after a Rottweiler mauling, said City Administrator Adam Ledford. Since its implementation, there has been just one other major incident when a young boy was mauled by a German shepherd in 2009, police said.

The ordinance has been an effective way to control dog-induced injuries, said police officer Mark Jansma.

“For the safety of our children, for the safety of our community, I think it’s real important that dogs bred specifically for fighting (are outlawed),” he said in a phone interview.

Harry Minteer argued to change the ordinance banning pit bulls before the city council on June 25 with several other people. He suggested a licensing program run through the city to certify pit bull owners, he said.

The council took no action to revise the ordinance.

“A pit bull can be very dangerous if put in the wrong hands, but if you have a person that is going to spend time with them, correct them like when they are wrong and bring them up like a child they’ll be the most-loyal, best, loving dogs there is,” Minteer said over the phone.

Minteer owned his first pit bull after returning from two tours of military service in Iraq. The dog helped him transition back to everyday life, he said.