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Police chief weighs in on Tate’s dogs

Achilles and Athena on their way to boarding school after recent incident

April 25, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Andrew Ian Tate is violating numerous city ordinances, Estherville Police Chief Brett Shatto said. Tate is the Iowa Lakes Community College wrestler who has been fighting to keep his dogs, Athena and Achilles, in Estherville.

According to the Estherville City Code (Title III, Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 320.2, subsection 2) a number of animals possibly kept as pets, or in the wild, are not permitted in city limits.

These include: wolves, coyotes, badgers, wolverines, weasels, mink, bears, apes, monkeys other than the squirrel monkey, elephants, wild boars, black widow spiders, scorpions, snakes which are natural venomous and constrictors, cats except domestic cats, raccoons, opossums and skunks, alligators, crocodiles, and Pit Bull Dogs.

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Shatto said, "It's true, we don't have a ban on other breeds."

The definition of Pit Pull Dog includes bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and dogs of mixed breed or other breed than above listed mixed with those breeds (which includes American Bully terriers Achilles and Athena) and a dog that has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of those breeds.

April 13, Tate was charged with a violation of Section 320.5, Control of Animals.

"That was a mistake," Tate said.

Tate's American Bullys, Achilles and Athena, did have an altercation with another dog, Tate said. They broke their leashes and had a fight.

"I'm friends with [the other dog's owner], Tate said. The two solved the situation together with Tate paying the vet bills.

"He says the dog is fine, as if this had never happened," Tate said.

Nevertheless, Tate said, he took the incident very seriously and knew something had to change.

Over the past months, Achilles and Athena have attended class once per week, with homework assigned, in the Twin Cities at Sit Means Sit training facility.

"They would have class once per week, then we would come home and practice the techniques throughout the week. Their progress in their training made me overconfident."

Tate says that is why the fight happened, in his opinion.

He consulted the dogs' instructors at Sit Means Sit, and they suggested boarding the dogs for training would not only allow for more class time and more intensive instruction, but would get them out of Emmet County for a time.

"I'm going to board them through the week for three weeks [at Sit Means Sit] and visit once per week so I get up to speed on their training," Tate said.

The dogs continue to make progress toward their Canine Good Citizen certificate and their certification as emotional support dogs for Tate and his fiance, Ines.

Tate's voice caught when he said, "We need these dogs. Not only are they our babies, but they help both of us so much with our medical conditions so we don't go off the edge," Tate said.

Earlier this month, Tate said both he and his fiance experience severe anxiety and are diagnosed with illnesses relating to anxiety.

"These dogs are the reason we both can do all the things we need to do," Tate said. "They help us every day."

According to Estherville city ordinance, the chief of police has the discretion to declare an animal in the city a dangerous animal, which the ordinance defines as "capable of killing, inflicting serious injury upon, or causing disease among human beings or domestic animals, and having tendencies as a species to do so," or a vicious animal, "any animal [with] vicious tendenciesbiting a person or persons so as to puncture the skin on two separate occasions within any 12 month period, or which has been found to possess such a propensity by the chief of police"

In Shatto's opinion, the dogs are dangerous and have demonstrated viciousness.

Tate said, as with a child, he has addressed his dogs' unlawful behavior by sending them to boarding school for intensive teaching on proper behavior. Tate said the dogs will also gain their support animal certifications, which will allow them to reside in Estherville under state disability laws.



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