Council hears input on three types of animals

Pigs and snakes and coyotes oh my.

The Marshalltown City Council heard presentations on all three animals at its Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night.

Considerations are in the works to amend the Marshalltown City Code to allow miniature pigs as pets.

Stacey and Tony Dostal, of Marshalltown, spoke to the council, saying their pet pigs, Mari and Romi, are just like dogs. They see no reason why the city should view them as such.

Bob Schubert, first-ward council member, supported the change, noting that he has spoken with several veterinarians that consider pigs like the Dostals’ pets.

However, not all members of the council agreed.

“We could be setting ourselves up for more problems if this is allowed,” said Marla Grabenbauer, third-ward council member.

Joel Greer, second-ward council member, said eight families called him urging him to strike down any changes to the ordinance that would allow pigs to be classified as pets. He said no one called him to support the pigs being allowed.

Kirk Brooks, of Marshalltown, also addressed the council on the city code relating to pet ownership. However, Brooks said he would like the city to be less restrictive in regards to snake ownership.

Brooks pointed out that the code, because of its wording, precludes snake ownership altogether. He pointed to other cities and their restrictions, which are more specific in detailing the types of snakes the city prohibits.

“Can they be dangerous? Yes. Just like anything else,” he said. “We need to be responsible owners.”

Curt Ward, city attorney, said enforcement could prove to be an issue should the code allow for snake ownership. He said the city faces a “slippery slope” when dealing with these types of situations. It’s not as if an owner can put a collar on a snake, he added.

Al Hoop, fourth-ward council member, said he would support Brooks’s cause.

“But I still won’t go in your basement,” he joked.

Finally, Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper told the public that the MPD has received some complaints that coyotes have been spotted on the outskirts of town near Riverview Cemetery and Linn Creek.

In addition to keeping food, including loose fruit, birdseed – which could attract small animals – or compost, and water secured, citizens should call the MPD at 754-5725 if they have questions or concerns.

However, Tupper said, it’s not as though his officers are going to go around shooting coyotes because people spot them. The best solution, he said, is to scare the animals off with loud noises or light.

“They don’t want to have anything to do with humans any more than we want to have anything to do with them,” he said. “It’s OK to bully a coyote.”