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Toledo Council, Jennifer Edwards at impasse on keeping vicious dogs

Controversy Continues Over Attack On Her Daughter, Neighbor

July 24, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

No planned changes in provisions for enforcement of the City of Toledo animal protection and control ordinance resulted from an hour-long city council work session on Monday, July 15. The result left Toledo resident Jennifer Edwards, who had appealed for new regulations, in tears. Two women accompanying Edwards turned over chairs in apparent protest as they left the session at the Reinig-Toledo Civic Center.

At the June 24 regular council meeting Edwards sought modification of the ordinance to provide for a different requirement for confinement of vicious animals, specifically dogs. Her call came following injuries suffered by her daughter during a June 17 attack by a neighbor's dog which was documented in Toledo Police records. The neighbors were allowed to keep the dog at their nearby residence for several days before civil action was taken by the mobile home court owner, it was reported.

Among provisions of the ordinance are for owners of an animal which has attacked a person to notify the Tama County Health Department or law enforcement.

Article Photos

Jennifer Edwards

The Board of Health then orders the confinement of the animal for 10 days. Toledo Police Chief Bob Kendall said at the June 24 meeting this procedure was followed.

Edwards said her daughter was traumatized by the dog being kept nearby their home and Edwards said she has three other children living with her which is of added concern.

Again at the July 15 discussion, Edwards questioned why the owners of the animals are allowed to provide for the required 10-day confinement of the animal. She charged the responsibility clause should not allow for the animal to be kept at the owner's own home during the period. At the previous meeting Edwards told the council. "I don't care if the owner has to take the dog and live with it in a car in another town."

Owners Left Town, Dog Gone

Owners of the dog listed in Tama County District Court records are Vanessa Santos and Pedro Gaona who were cited in a nuisance complaint- keeping vicious dogs, a civil violation filed by Toledo Police Sgt. Dan Quigley.

Vanessa Santos did not appear for a hearing on the matter on July 12 and judgment and court costs totaling $585 were entered against her by Magistrate Richard Vander Mey. The court order says Santos is known to no longer live at the address in the Arrowhead Mobile Home Park and "the dog in question has been removed."

Court records show no payment on the judgment had been made by July 18 and it was reported Santos and Gaona had left the state and were believed in Florida.

Council members and Mayor John Lloyd said Monday they were understanding of Edwards' concerns but did not foresee a workable solution to change the present ordinance provisions.

Police Sgt. Quigley said a dog has to be "deemed vicious by the court" as part of the legal requirements in the cases.

Quigley and council members expressed concerns about liability and costs if the city were to reactivate the old shelter pens at the Ross Street maintenance area.

Both the Town and Country Veterinary Clinic and the Tama County Humane Society Shelter had declined to house the dog which attacked the victims in the June 17 attack citing inadequate space.

Council member Darvin Graham said he had explored how other cities addressed the issue and found the City of Manchester had its own shelter where vicious animals can be confined. However, the cost of providing for the facility and required personnel was in the $390,000 range.

He said Manchester officials have explored providing a new shelter and that cost is estimated at $100,000.

Edwards' daughter and a neighbor, Lynn Shepard, who came to the girl's aid, both were treated at UnityPoint Health- Marshalltown emergency room after being injured on June 17. The girl was transported to Marshalltown by Toledo ambulance and Sheppard went by private car.

The incident began when the daughter had attempted to return the dog to its home after it had pulled loose from its tie-down stake and was running at-large it was reported.

According to the report when Edwards' daughter reached the door of the residence at Arrowhead Mobile Home Park the dog attacked her. Shepard's wife Shirley was out of doors and summoned him. He attempted to stop the dog using a crowbar and also was then injured.

When police and the ambulance arrived, the dog had been taken inside the mobile home by a son of Santos, officials said.



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