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Sioux City councilman learns the hard way that pit bulls aren't the only dogs that bite people

July 2, 2009 |  2:58 pm

Pit bull The shoe is on the other foot for a Sioux City, Iowa, city councilman who spearheaded a campaign to ban pit bulls in the city.  Despite vocal opposition from defenders of the maligned breed, the ban passed a city council vote last September.  (It allows owners to keep pit bulls they currently own, provided they are registered with the city, but prevents future pit bull ownership.)

Now the councilman, Aaron Rochester, is appealing a decision by the Sioux City animal control department branding his own dog -- a yellow Labrador retriever -- as vicious following an attack on a neighbor.  The dog, named Jake, will be euthanized if the decision stands.

Sioux City police say Jake attacked a neighbor who was walking on the sidewalk past Rochester's house.  The man suffered bite wounds on his thumb, which required five stitches, and scratches as a result.  The hospital where he received treatment called police to report the incident, prompting animal control to seize and impound Jake.

Rochester says he believes the dog attacked in an effort to protect his children, telling the Sioux City Journal that he is "a great watchdog."  Sioux City's police captain is expected to make a decision on whether to uphold or overturn the vicious dog ruling by the end of the week.

The city's pit bull ban was buoyed by animal control reports cited by Rochester showing that pit bulls were the breed most apt to bite humans, the Journal reported. 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A pit bull waits for adoption at the Alameda County Animal Shelter in Oakland.  Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times

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