Mason City sees more problems with pets and other strays | New

MASON CITY, Iowa — Police say there is a growing problem with animals in Mason City.

In July, the Mason City Police Department reported:

— At least 9 bite cases, 6 were dogs and 2 were cats. (One of these cases involved a dog attacking another dog. The others were bites on people).

— At least 14 criminal citations have been issued for animal ordinance violations.

— At least 72 animals have been impounded at the Mason City Stray Animal Shelter (37 dogs, 32 cats, 2 guinea pigs and 1 bird). This is the largest number of dogs ever taken to the shelter.

According to police, 323 dogs and cats were impounded as of August 5, more than the 311 impounded for all of 2020. That’s on track to surpass the final number of 529 animals impounded for the calendar year 2021.

To retrieve an impounded animal, owners will need to produce proof of ownership, then pay for their pet as well as remedy any other violations (no rabies, no license, etc.). Claim fees increase for subsequent claims. Due to the growing number of offences, police said they are reviewing animal orders and whether to increase claim fees. A few Mason City residents have picked up the same animals 6 or more times for running loose.

There are no requirements for vaccinating pets against parvo virus or distemper in Mason City, but police say they have recently seen an increase in the number of dogs with parvo. Either virus is highly contagious and can make your pet very seriously ill or die if not vaccinated.

Police say they are also considering a city ordinance against feeding stray cats. Most of Mason City’s trapped live cats are feral and unvaccinated, and there is little space in the city’s animal shelter. According to police, feral cats are rarely adoptable and often transmit distemper or other feline diseases to wildlife or other animals in the shelter. When residents leave food for stray cats, it attracts other creatures, and then neighbors and the police have to deal with the consequences.

Mason City is home to a few fox skulks – red and gray. Iowa gray foxes are extremely rare. 3 gray foxes died or exhibited sick or “drunken” behavior recently before dying. Iowa DNR officials confirm that distemper was present in at least one of the dead gray foxes. Police say some residents are also trying to leave food for the foxes. They say it’s problematic and misguided, no matter how cute anyone might think foxes are.