Onawa, IA city council reverses police chief's decision to deem - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Onawa, IA city council reverses police chief's decision to deem dog "dangerous"

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Zhivago roams around in the Parker's backyard behind a newly installed six-foot fence. Zhivago roams around in the Parker's backyard behind a newly installed six-foot fence.
ONAWA, Iowa (KTIV) -

For more than a month, an Onawa, Iowa, man has fought to keep his St. Bernard. On March 10th, Onawa police delivered a letter to Billy Parker informing him that his dog is "dangerous".

Parker appealed and won that appeal Tuesday evening as the Onawa city council reversed Onawa Chief of Police Gary Addy's previous ruling by a 4-to-2 vote.

Chief Gary Addy's original decision came after Zhivago had escaped, and roamed a neighborhood at large on more than one occasion. His owner, Billy Parker, says Zhivago is a gentle giant.

Parker also says Zhivago is a therapy animal. Parker suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tuesday evening, the council member who offered the motion to reverse the police chief's decision, offered his reasons for the move.

"If he was going to bite somebody, he would have done it long before this," said Leroy Habinck, a City of Onawa City Council Member.

Habinck says Parker has since installed a six foot tall chain link fence to keep Zhivago contained in the yard. Habinck says there's no reason to make Parker give up the dog with no prior acts of violence or aggressiveness.

"Relief," said Billy Parker, Zhivago's owner. "I have a sense of joy and my anxiety level has dropped."

The council's next step will be to find a clearer definition of what makes an animal "dangerous" or "vicious". They say that will help them if an event, like this, ever happens again.They also talked about guidelines they'd like to put in place, but those won't be known until their next meeting.

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