A city newsletter from the mayor of the Benton County community has the residents riled up. Here's what has them so upset.

The mayor of Van Horne, Marty Junge, has a message for pet owners in the city's latest newsletter. First of all, this is what it says, via the Iowa City Press-Citizen:

Pets, Pets, Pets. 

Come on people, we are having more complaints all the time --dogs unleashed, dogs biting, dogs pooping, and my biggest complaint, unregistered pets. It is getting to be the biggest problem in town. We have been nice long enough, and when I get enough complaints about something, I need to do something about it.

We will start a strict enforcement enactment. If a pet is outside unleashed -- I don’t care if is in your lawn -- if the neighbor takes a picture and shows it to us, your pet is gone. If we have a report that you have a pet and it is not registered, it is gone. If you don’t clean up after your pet, it is gone. If you get my drift, I am not very happy about this situation, and if the pet owners don’t take responsibility for your pets’ actions, then the city will.

Summer has not even begun and we have had numerous complaints. Also, there is a pit bull in town. That is illegal. If it is seen outside again, it will also be gone.

Enough of a rant. Just take care of your pets and be courteous to your neighbors."

WOW. That seems like a rant alright. I understand the frustration with pet owners, who are perceived as not taking necessary precautions with their animals. My late father-in-law was the mayor of a small eastern Iowa town for many years. Often I would hear about concerns with, especially, dog owners. However, he NEVER would've taken this approach. There's a right, professional way, and a wrong way. This is the latter, in my opinion.

Imagine somebody coming to your door and telling you a neighbor caught your dog pooping in their yard while you're on a walk. I can hear it now, "Yes, we have this photo of your dog pooping down the street. We need you to bring us the dog now." That may be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. And you're going to start plucking dogs out of people's own yards!? Here's a link to the city's current pet ordinance:
Van Horne Animal Ordinance

I'm all for leash laws and the safety of citizens, but I think Mayor Junge needs to take a deep breath. Maybe have an open forum to lay out what the next steps will be. A newsletter "proclamation" certainly doesn't seem like the ideal approach to me. I believe everyone would appreciate a discussion they can be involved in. No one likes threats.

[via Iowa City Press-Citizen and City of Van Horne]