City Ordinances: Chapters 52-57


This is just a part of the full ordinance document. Find the full, official document at the bottom or click here.


52.01   PURPOSE.  The purpose of this chapter is to beautify and preserve the appearance of the City by requiring property owners and occupants to maintain grass lawns at a uniform height within the boundaries of their property and on abutting street right-of-way in order to prevent unsightly, offensive, or nuisance conditions.

52.02   DEFINITIONS.  For use in this chapter the following terms are defined:

  1. “Curb,” “curb line,” or “curbing” means the outer boundaries of a street at the edge of that portion of the street usually traveled by vehicular traffic.
  2. “Cut,” or “mow” means to mechanically maintain the growth of grass, weeds, or brush at a uniform height.
  3. “Owner” means a person owning private property in the City and any person occupying private property in the City.
  4. “Parking” means that part of a street in the City not covered by a sidewalk and lying between the lot line or property line and the curb line; or on unpaved streets, that part of the street lying between the lot line or property line and that portion of the street usually traveled by vehicular traffic.


  1. Every owner shall cut, mow, and maintain all grass, weeds, and brush upon the owner’s property and adjacent to the curb line or outer boundary of any street, which includes the parking area abutting the owner’s property, to a uniform height as defined in Section 52.04.
  2. Every owner shall cut, mow, and maintain all grass, weeds, and brush adjacent to the curb line, including the parking area abutting the owner’s property, in such a manner so as to be in conformity with and at an even height with all other grass, weeds, or brush growing on the remainder of the owner’s property.

52.04   UNIFORM HEIGHT SPECIFICATIONS.  Grass, weeds, or brush shall be cut, mowed, and maintained so as not to exceed the following height specifications:

  1. Developed Residential Areas – not to exceed 8 inches.
  2. Undeveloped Residential Areas – not to exceed 8 inches.
  3. Business and Industrial Areas – not to exceed 8 inches.
  4. Agriculture Areas – not to exceed 15 inches.

Grass, weeds, and brush which are allowed to grow in excess of the above specified limitations are deemed to be violations of this chapter.  Any property within the City, whether vacated or non-vacated, is required to conform to these specifications.  Any deviation from the uniform height specifications is only permitted with written approval from the City Administrator.

52.05   PUBLICATION OF NOTICE.  Annual spring publication of the ordinance codified in this chapter in an official newspaper shall serve as notice to property owners.  The City will be authorized to respond to violations without additional written notice being given.

52.06   FAILURE TO COMPLY.  If the property owner fails to comply with this chapter, the Council or its appointee shall cause the property to be mowed.  The fee for this service will be set by resolution and will be assessed against the property.

52.07   ABATEMENT BY CITY.  If the property owner neglects or fails to abate as directed by this chapter, the City may perform the required action to abate.  The fee for the abatement will be set by the City Council.

52.08   COLLECTION OF COSTS.  The City Clerk shall send a statement of the total expense incurred to the property owner who has failed to abide by the publication notice.  If the amount shown by the statement has not been paid within one month, the Clerk shall certify the costs to the County Treasurer, and such costs shall then be collected with, and in the same manner as, general property taxes.

52.09   FAILURE TO ABATE.  Any person causing or maintaining a nuisance and who fails or refuses to abate or remove the same is in violation of this Code of Ordinances.



55.01   DEFINITIONS.  The following terms are defined for use in this chapter.

  1. “Advertise” means to present a commercial message in any medium including but not limited to print, radio, television, sign, display, label, tag or articulation.
  2. “Animal” means a nonhuman vertebrate.(Code of Iowa, Sec. 717B.1)
  3. “At large” means off the premises of the owner and not under the control of a competent person, restrained within a motor vehicle, or housed in a veterinary hospital or kennel.
  4. “Business” means any enterprise relating to any of the following:
    1. The sale or offer for sale of goods or services.
    2. A recruitment for employment or membership in an organization.
    3. A solicitation to make an investment.
    4. An amusement or entertainment activity.
  5. “Fair” means any of the following:
    1. The annual fair and exposition held by the Iowa State Fair Board pursuant to Chapter 173 of the Code of Iowa or any fair event conducted by a fair under the provisions of Chapter 174 of the Code of Iowa.
    2. An exhibition of agricultural or manufactured products.
    3. An event for operation of amusement rides or devices or concession booths.
  6. “Game” means a “game of chance” or “game of skill” as defined in Section 99B.1 of the Code of Iowa.
  7. “Livestock” means an animal belonging to the bovine, caprine, equine, ovine or porcine species, ostriches, rheas and emus; farm deer as defined in Section 170.1 of the Code of Iowa; or poultry. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 717.1)
  8. “Owner” means any person owning, keeping, sheltering or harboring an animal.
  9. “Pet” means a living dog, cat or an animal normally maintained in a small tank or cage in or near a residence, including but not limited to a rabbit, gerbil, hamster, mouse, parrot, canary, mynah, finch, tropical fish, goldfish, snake, turtle, gecko or iguana.

55.02   ANIMAL NEGLECT.  It is unlawful for a person who impounds or confines, in any place, an animal, excluding livestock, to fail to supply the animal during confinement with a sufficient quantity of food or water, or to fail to provide a confined dog or cat with adequate shelter, or to torture, deprive of necessary sustenance, mutilate, beat, or kill such animal by any means which causes unjustified pain, distress or suffering. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 717B.3)

55.03   LIVESTOCK NEGLECT.  It is unlawful for a person who impounds or confines livestock in any place to fail to provide the livestock with care consistent with customary animal husbandry practices or to deprive the livestock of necessary sustenance or to injure or destroy livestock by any means which causes pain or suffering in a manner inconsistent with customary animal husbandry practices. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 717.2)

55.04   ABANDONMENT OF CATS AND DOGS.  A person who has ownership or custody of a cat or dog shall not abandon the cat or dog, except the person may deliver the cat or dog to another person who will accept ownership and custody or the person may deliver the cat or dog to an animal shelter or pound. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 717B.8)

55.05   LIVESTOCK.  It is unlawful for a person to keep livestock within the City except by written consent of the Council or except in compliance with the City’s zoning regulations.

55.06   AT LARGE PROHIBITED.  It is unlawful for any owner to allow an animal to run at large within the corporate limits of the City.

55.07   DAMAGE OR INTERFERENCE.  It is unlawful for the owner of an animal to allow or permit such animal to pass upon the premises of another thereby causing damage to, or interference with, the premises.

55.08   ANNOYANCE OR DISTURBANCE.  It is unlawful for the owner of a dog to allow or permit such dog to cause serious annoyance or disturbance to any person by frequent and habitual howling, yelping, barking, or otherwise, or by running after or chasing persons, bicycles, automobiles or other vehicles.

55.09   OWNER’S DUTY.  It is the duty of the owner of any dog, cat or other animal which has bitten or attacked a person or any person having knowledge of such bite or attack to report this act to a local health or law enforcement official.  It is the duty of physicians and veterinarians to report to the local board of health the existence of any animal known or suspected to be suffering from rabies. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.38)

55.10   CONFINEMENT.  If a local board of health receives information that an animal has bitten a person or that a dog or animal is suspected of having rabies, the board shall order the owner to confine such animal in the manner it directs.  If the owner fails to confine such animal in the manner directed, the animal shall be apprehended and impounded by such board, and after ten (10) days the board may humanely destroy the animal.  If such animal is returned to its owner, the owner shall pay the cost of impoundment.  This section does not apply if a police service dog or a horse used by a law enforcement agency and acting in the performance of its duties has bitten a person. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.39)

55.11   AT LARGE: IMPOUNDMENT.  Animals found at large in violation of this chapter shall be seized and impounded, or at the discretion of the peace officer, the owner may be served a summons to appear before a proper court to answer charges made thereunder.

55.12   DISPOSITION OF ANIMALS.  When an animal has been apprehended and impounded, written notice shall be provided to the owner within two (2) days after impoundment, if the owner’s name and current address can reasonably be determined by accessing a tag or other device that is on or part of the animal.  Impounded animals may be recovered by the owner upon payment of impounding costs, and if an unvaccinated dog, by having it immediately vaccinated.  If the owner fails to redeem the animal within seven (7) days from the date that the notice is mailed, or if the owner cannot be located within seven days, the animal shall be disposed of in accordance with law or destroyed by euthanasia. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.37, 351.41)

55.13   IMPOUNDING COSTS.  Impounding costs are five dollars ($5.00) per day plus boarding costs. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.37)

55.14   PET AWARDS PROHIBITED. (Code of Iowa, Ch. 717.E)

  1. Prohibition. It is unlawful for any person to award a pet or advertise that a pet may be awarded as any of the following:
  2. A prize for participating in a game.
  3. A prize for participating in a fair.
  4. An inducement or condition for visiting a place of business or attending an event sponsored by a business.
  5. An inducement or condition for executing a contract which includes provisions unrelated to the ownership, care or disposition of the pet.
  6. Exceptions. This section does not apply to any of the following:
  7. A pet shop licensed pursuant to Section 162.5 of the Code of Iowa if the award of a pet is provided in connection with the sale of a pet on the premises of the pet shop.
  8. Youth programs associated with 4-H Clubs; Future Farmers of America; the Izaak Walton League of America; or organizations associated with outdoor recreation, hunting or fishing, including but not limited to the Iowa Sportsmen’s Federation.

55.15   HORSES PROHIBITED.  It is unlawful for any person to ride, drive, lead, or otherwise allow any member of the equine species, either owned by such person or within the control of such person, to travel upon or within 15 feet of the public trails, campground, and pathways, or any portion thereof located within the City limits.



56.01   ANNUAL LICENSE REQUIRED.  Every owner of a dog or cat six months old or older shall apply for and obtain a license from the Clerk on or before January 1 of each calendar year.  Such application for license may be made after January 1 and at any time for a dog or cat which has come into the possession or ownership of the applicant, or which has reached the age of six months after said date.  Dogs and cats whose owners are nonresidents temporarily within the City for a period of less than thirty (30) days, dogs and cats brought into the City for the purpose of participating in an animal show, Seeing Eye dogs trained to assist blind persons, dogs kept in a State or Federally licensed kennel and not allowed to run at large, and show cats need not be licensed.  Any new dog or cat owner or any owner who becomes a resident of the City after January 1 of any year shall obtain a license for said cat or dog within 30 days after becoming a resident of the City without penalty.

56.02   LICENSE FEES.  The annual license fee shall be fixed by the Council by resolution.  A penalty of $5.00 per month shall be assessed after April 1 of each year for failure to pay the license fee when due.  No license fee shall be refunded.

56.03   EXPIRATION OF LICENSE.  All licenses shall expire on January 1 of the year following the date of issuance.

56.04   LICENSE ISSUED.  Upon payment of the license fee as set by resolution, the Clerk shall issue to the owner a license which shall contain the name of the owner, the owner’s place of residence, and a description of the dog or cat, including breed, sex, age, color, markings and name, if any, of the animal, and be signed by the owner.  The Clerk shall keep a duplicate of each license issued as a public record.

56.05   LICENSE TAGS.  Upon issuance of the license, the Clerk shall deliver to the owner a license tag in the form prescribed by the Council, which license tag shall bear the number of the license and the year for which it is issued.  The license tag shall be worn by the animal for which the license is issued.  The license tag shall be securely fastened to a collar or harness which shall be worn by the animal during the term of the license.  A license tag issued for one animal shall not be transferable to another animal.  Any dog or cat found running at large without the license tag attached to its collar or harness shall be deemed unlicensed.

56.06   TRANSFERS OF LICENSE.  When the permanent ownership of a dog or cat is transferred, the license may be transferred by the Clerk by notation on the license record, giving the name and address of the new owner.  When a dog or cat licensed in the City is permanently transferred outside the City, the owner shall surrender the original license tag to the City.

56.07   LOST OR DESTROYED LICENSES.  Upon the filing of an affidavit that the license tag has been lost or destroyed, the owner may obtain another tag at no cost.  The Clerk shall enter in the license record the new number assigned.

56.08   LICENSE RECORDS.  The Clerk shall keep a book to be known as the record of licenses which shall show:

  1. The serial number and date of each application for a license.
  2. The description of the dog or cat as specified in the application, together with the name of the owner of the dog or cat.
  3. The date when each license tag is issued and the serial number of each tag and the date of the most recent rabies vaccination.
  4. The amount of all fees, licenses, penalties and costs paid to the Clerk.
  5. Such other data as may be required by law.

56.09   IMMUNIZATION REQUIRED.  All dogs and cats six months old or over shall be vaccinated against rabies.  Before issuance of the City license, the owner shall furnish a veterinarian’s certificate showing that the animal for which the license is sought has been vaccinated and that the vaccination does not expire during the effective date of the animal license.  A tag showing evidence of proper vaccination shall be worn by every dog and cat when not confined.

56.10   KENNEL DOGS AND SHOW CATS.  Kennel dogs and show cats which are kept or raised solely for the bona fide purpose of sale and which are kept under constant restraint are not subject to the provisions of this chapter.



57.01   DEFINITIONS.  For use in this chapter, the following terms are defined:

  1. “Dangerous animal” means the following animals:
  2. Badgers, wolverines, weasels, skunk and mink;
  3. Raccoons;
  4. Bears;
  5. Scorpions;
  6. Pit Bull Terriers, including the following:

(1)        The Bull Terrier breed of dog;

(2)        The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed;

(3)        The American Staffordshire Terrier breed;

(4)        The American Pit Bull Terrier breed;

(5)        Dogs of mixed breed or other breeds which are known as pit bulls, pit bulldogs or pit bull terriers;

(6)        Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers or a combination of any of these breeds.

  1. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers.
  2. “Vicious animal” means any animal, except for a dangerous animal per se, as listed above, that has bitten or clawed a person or persons while running at large and the attack was unprovoked, or any animal that has exhibited vicious tendencies in present or past conduct, including such that said animal: (i) has bitten or clawed a person or persons on one occasion; or (ii) could not be controlled or restrained by the owner at the time of the attack to prevent the occurrence; or (iii) has attacked any domestic animal or fowl on two separate occasions within a 12-month period.

57.02   KEEPING OF DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS ANIMALS PROHIBITED.  No person shall keep, shelter, or harbor any dangerous or vicious animal as a pet, or act as a temporary custodian for such animal, or keep, shelter or harbor such animal for any purpose or in any capacity within the City.


  1. In the event that a dangerous animal or vicious animal is found at large and unattended upon public property, park property, public right-of-way or the property of someone other than its owner, thereby creating a hazard to persons or property, such animal may, in the discretion of the Mayor or peace officer, be destroyed if it cannot be confined or captured. The City shall be under no duty to attempt the confinement or capture of a dangerous animal or vicious animal found at large, nor shall it have a duty to notify the owner of such animal prior to its destruction.
  2. Upon the complaint of any individual that a person is keeping, sheltering or harboring a dangerous animal or vicious animal on its premises in the City, the Mayor shall cause the matter to be investigated and if after investigation, the facts indicate that the person named in the complaint is keeping, sheltering or harboring a dangerous or vicious animal in the City, the Mayor shall order the person named in the complaint to safely remove such animal from the City or destroy the animal within three (3) days of the receipt of such an order. Such order shall be contained in a notice to remove dangerous or vicious animal, which notice shall be given in writing to the person keeping, sheltering or harboring the dangerous animal or vicious animal, and shall be served personally or by certified mail.  Such order and notice to remove the dangerous animal or vicious animal shall not be required where such animal has previously caused serious physical harm or death to any person, in which case the Mayor shall cause the animal to be immediately seized and impounded or killed if seizure and impoundment are not possible without risk of serious physical harm or death to any person.
  3. The order to remove a dangerous animal or vicious animal issued by the Mayor may be appealed to the Council. In order to appeal such order, written notice of appeal must be filed with the Clerk within three (3) days after receipt of the order contained in the notice to remove dangerous or vicious animal.  Failure to file such written notice of appeal shall constitute a waiver of right to appeal the order of the Mayor.
  4. The notice of appeal shall state the grounds for such appeal and shall be delivered personally or by certified mail to the Clerk. The hearing of such appeal shall be scheduled for the next Council meeting after the receipt of notice of appeal.  The hearing may be continued for good cause.  After such hearing, the Council may affirm or reverse the order of the Mayor.  Such determination shall be contained in a written decision and shall be filed with the Clerk within three (3) days after the hearing or any continued session thereof.
  5. If the Council affirms the action of the Mayor, the Council shall order in its written decision that the person owning, sheltering, harboring or keeping such dangerous or vicious animal remove such animal from the City or destroy it. The decision and order shall immediately be served upon the person against whom rendered in the same manner as the notice of removal.  If the original order of the Mayor is not appealed and is not complied with within three (3) days or the order of the Council after appeal is not complied with within three (3) days of its issuance, the Mayor is authorized to seize, impound or destroy such dangerous or vicious animal.  Failure to comply with an order of the Mayor issued pursuant to this chapter and not appealed, or of the Council after appeal, constitutes a simple misdemeanor.

57.04   EXCEPTIONS.  Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this chapter, a person with a disability has the right to possess a service animal, as defined by Iowa Code Section 216C.11(1), as long as that animal is not a “vicious animal” as defined by 57.01(2) of the City ordinances.  A service animal under this exception must register with the City.

(Ord. 461-16 – Jun. 18 Supp.)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Certain other dangerous animals, listed in Chapter 717F.1, paragraph 5a, of the Code of Iowa, are specifically prohibited and regulated by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.


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