Health Board Deliberates on Policy for Canine Quarantine

Health Board Deliberates on Policy for Canine Quarantine

The recent Board of Health meeting in Marengo lasted for three hours, with a significant portion of the time dedicated to discussing the City of Marengo’s request to change the policy for quarantining animals that have bitten someone. Iowa County Supervisor Abigail Maas revealed that Marengo Police Chief Ben Gray had raised concerns about a dog that had bitten a girl being quarantined at home near the victim’s residence. Gray had initially asked the City Council if they wanted to implement a requirement for animals to be quarantined at a certified facility instead of at home, leaving the final decision to the board of health. Both Gray and Marengo City Councilman Travis Schlabach presented this request to the board of health.

According to Maas, the City of Marengo has the authority to establish stricter policies without requiring approval from the board of health. Currently, Iowa County does not have a facility that can accommodate quarantined dogs, so pet owners would have to take their animals to Johnson County, costing approximately $100 a day for a 10-day quarantine period. This cost may be prohibitive for some pet owners, as mentioned by Maas during the meeting.

Supervisor Chairman Kevin Heitshusen explained that it is easier for cities to comply with county requirements rather than for the county to align with the varying regulations of each city within its jurisdiction. Maas highlighted that the county policy allows cities to adopt more lenient or stringent regulations as they see fit. She also pointed out that this issue seems to fall more under the jurisdiction of law enforcement rather than the health department. Ultimately, the decision on quarantining animals after biting incidents remains an ongoing discussion within the board of health.

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