Clinton city leaders look to tighten animal protections in city ordinance

CLINTON, Iowa-- The City of Clinton is looking to tighten their animal protection procedures after a public outcry involving the case of 8 abused pit bulls earlier this year. 

The City's Attorney Pat O'Connell said in an email revisions were made to the ordinance text more clear.  On the revised ordinance it clearly states a person who intentionally commits animal neglect would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

O'Connell says cities are not permitted to under Iowa Law to create criminal offenses more serious than misdemeanors and police officers must use the State code when drafting in more serious cases.

City leaders are also exploring the idea to hire an animal control officer who would oversee multiple cities in the county such as Dewitt and Camanche. In 2016 the position was eliminated from the Clinton Police department due to budget constraints said O'Connell.

O'Connell says it's not a guarantee it would protect all animals but there would be a specially trained animal control officer available to handle animals and assist in the prosecution in those involved in animal neglect cases.

Local animal rescuer Shai Lemke says the ideas are a step in the right direction but there is still more work to be done.

Lemke says animal abuse cases in Clinton have gone on far too long and that the recently charged Thomas Mauk and Theresa Muhs in the pit bull case should set an example for future cases.

The supportive response from locals and  has ignited picketers to show up at Muh's and Mauk's courthouse hearings. 

City leaders are planning to discuss the future of the ordinance with Lemke and other animal advocates. Lemke encourages others to attend the meeting next week.

Where are the pit bulls now?

The rescued 8 pit bulls are currently being treated and housed at the Clinton Humane Society.

Volunteers say they are responding well to treatment and adapting to their new current home. According to the Clinton Humane Society the dogs are not  up for adoption as they have not been legally given up.