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Rescue Your Own Pets - The Pit Bull


Beautiful Dog courtesy of

Pet rescue is not always about rescuing a pet outside of your own home.  It could very well include helping the pet or pets that reside with you.

Take the recent case of a Des Moines area Pit Bull owner.  Fortunately for this breed, the Pit Bull ban is not in effect in the city of Des Moines.  There are, however, requirements that Pit Bull owners must abide by in order to retain their dogs.  When a local owner refused to comply with the requirements set forth and received multiple warnings by ARL Animal Control workers about the dog, the Pit Bull was removed from the home and put to sleep.  A tragic end that could have been completely avoided by the pet owner.

According to the City of Des Moines, "any Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog, American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dog, American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog or any dog that has the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier as vicious".  Along with this statement is a list of restrictions that owners must comply with in order to keep their beloved pet.  Failure to do so could result in the demise of the animal.

Owners are required to:

  • Provide current rabies certification
  • written proof of spaying/neutering
  • proof of insurance insurance coverage *
  • confine the dog(s) per Section 18-56 of the Municipal Code **

When reviewing the requirements to own one of these strong yet loving animals, the expectations of the owners are not too extreme or different from what any other dog owner should be doing to properly care for a dog. 

Owners can rescue their own pets by following the laws set forth by the cities and townships they reside in.  While owners may not agree with all requirements, it is best for the dog to comply with the rules set forth. If you want to fight the city about the requirements, you can do so but as you are pleading your case, continue to comply with current regulations.  If you as an owner are unable to meet the requirements, then it is wise to think about finding a new home for your pet. 

For those who are thinking about adding a Pit Bull to your family, check out your local ordinances and make sure that Pit Bulls are allowed in your city's limits and that you can meet the requirements for owning one.

* In Des Moines, Pit Bull owners need to check with their Homeowner's Association or City Clerk regarding the proper insurance requirements.  Some locations require owners to include Pit Bulls in the home owner's policy with a minimum liability coverage of $100,000.  Additionally, a letter on the insurance company's letterhead must state that the dog is covered by the homeowner's policy.

**The Municipal Code can be seen in it's entirety at

For more information about Des Moines pet requirements, visit


  • Fry's Pet Rescue 5 years ago

    As a pet rescuer, but as a pet owner & a MAJOR lover of the Bully breed, it is very important not only with Bully breeds, but ANY breed of dog to carry insurance. I as an open rescue in the country not only maintain insurance on my animals, but I do have fenced play area's for them. It is important in city or country not only for the safety of people but the animals. It is a responsibility of the OWNER to ensure EVERYONE is safe! If one is not prepared for the responsibility or the expenses involved then that party is NOT ready to own a dog, especially one that requires by law to have these things in place. We ALL like to call our pets "kids", so if you consider YOUR PET a KID and a part of your family, protect them as such, but also take the liberty of protecting those around you, as they are NOT children they are animals, it is a gift to own one. The bully breed is not for everyone and it should never be a band wagon to get on, it should be thought out! Sad about the dog!

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