WAPELLO — The Wapello City Council on Thursday gave Malachi, a one-year-old Olde English Bulldog, 72 hours to leave Wapello.
The council took the action after it held a hearing and then declared the dog to be a vicious animal under the city’s dangerous and vicious animal ordinance.
According to a report from Wapello Assistant Police Chief Ed Parker, Malachi was involved in at least five incidents between Aug. 15 and Nov. 7 in which it was reportedly running loose, chased someone or bit an individual.
Malachi’s owner, Kourtney Seltz, 508 Fred Brown St., said the biting incident happened on her property and involved a child that didn't have permission to be there.
The child’s father, Don Purdy, disputed that, explaining Seltz’s daughter had invited his son over. Purdy said the dog bit his son in the stomach and leg after apparently breaking free while being taken into the house.
Seltz said under the ordinance, since Malachi had not been running at large when that incident occurred, he could not be considered vicious.
However, Mayor Shawn Maine pointed out the ordinance included a qualifier that if an animal had exhibited “vicious propensities in the past,” more recent incidents could be used to identify the animal as vicious, even if it was not running at large when they occurred.
Lou Ann Cedillo, 709 S. Fifth St., said she had been involved in one of the past incidents. Cedillo said she was walking her dog last summer when Malachi apparently broke free from a young child that was attempting to control him and charged her.
Cedillo said she saw the dog coming, managed to pick up her own pet, turned her back to Malachi and started screaming. She said the dog did not bite her, but did jump on her, leaving bruises.
Her screaming alerted Doug Brown, 636 S. Fifth St., and he and several of his family members rushed to assist. Brown, who attended the hearing, said his grandson was on a bicycle and Malachi started chasing him.
The grandson pedaled to another neighbor’s property and that neighbor was able to shelter him in a garage. Brown said Malachi did not bite his grandson, but reported he had seen other instances where the dog had attempted to chase bicyclists.
After hearing the reports, the council voted to identify Malachi as a vicious animal and set the time for Seltz to have the dog out of town.
In other action, the council approved the transfer of $250 each from the water fund and the sewer fund to the debt service fund for a loan interest payment.
The council also approved a resolution agreeing to an interest rate reduction on a 2010 loan arranged through the Iowa Finance Authority. The rate reduction will mean a $34,225 savings for the city.
City clerk Mike Delzell said the $900,000 loan helped finance a sewer separation project in 2009.
A Dec. 17 public hearing was also set by the council to receive public comment on a proposed amendment to the city’s Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget. The proposed amendment will add $206,500 in expenses for two squad cars, Franklin Street paving and an increase in work comp rate.
On the revenue side, $59,389 will be added for the sale of an old squad car, insurance payment for a demolished squad car and a COPS grant.