Tragic end for two ‘aggressive’ dogs at large in Traer

Two dogs were destroyed in Traer on Monday, Jan. 2 by the Tama County Sheriff’s Office in a tragic, partial ending to an ongoing community issue.

According to a Jan. 3 press release, just after 9 a.m. on Monday, deputies responded to a report of “two aggressive dogs running at large within the city limits of Traer.”

The dogs reportedly belonged to residents of the home located at 914 Second Street, which is owned by Happy Friestad.

About an hour later, according to the press release, a deputy was able to locate the two “aggressive dogs” on the east side of town and subsequently “destroyed them.”

The death of the two dogs appears to have taken place on the grounds of Can Country, a redemption center located at 2608 170th St. on the eastern edge of Traer.

Joe Jacobs, owner and operator of Can Country, provided a statement to the North Tama Telegraph regarding the events of Monday morning.

“When I was going to open this morning at 10 [a.m.] a deputy was driving through my lot and told me there were [two] black dogs on my property and that he had to shoot them,” Jacobs stated. “When I turned around the dogs were right there. I told [the dogs] to get [away], and they went towards the road. That’s when the deputy shot them at the end of my driveway.”

Jacobs said he was not attacked nor injured by the dogs, and he did not report the dogs running at large.

“I didn’t call the police and I have never seen the dogs out here before. I was just ‘lucky’ enough to have it end on my property,” Jacobs further stated.

Jacobs said the deputy left soon thereafter leaving him to “deal with the animals and the owners who showed up near hysterical.”

“We are innocent bystanders,” Jacobs stated in conclusion. “[Bystanders] who wish this wouldn’t have happened at all, let alone on our property.”

The two dogs in question belong to either Happy Friestad and/or his girlfriend Brooke Hickman, who also lives at 914 Second St. Both Friestad and Hickman have registered two dogs each with the city of Traer.

“The Sheriff’s Office has received over 12 complaints from the community within the last three months alone on these dogs running at large,” the Tama Co. Sheriff’s Office’s press release further states. “The owners have already been issued multiple citations for dogs at large.”

Loose and/or dangerous dogs at large – dogs belonging specifically to the owners of 914 Second St. – was the primary topic of discussion at the December city council meeting.

During that meeting, both a resident of the neighborhood – Holly Atkins who lives at 917 Second Street – and Tama Co. Sheriff Dennis Kucera spoke regarding Traer’s animal and protection control ordinance (Chapter 55) and the continuing violations of that ordinance by the homeowner and residents of 914 Second St.

Following her remarks, Atkins presented to the council 10 signed statements from those she described as “neighbors and community members who have strong concerns” about the dogs at 914 Second Street.

For his part, Kucera told the council every time his office receives a complaint about the dogs that is “backed up,” a citation is filed.

Kucera also addressed the Iowa Code specifically as it relates to dogs at large, stating: “If an animal – in this case, a dog – comes on your property, is not welcome, and it acts in a vicious manner, the Iowa Code is very clear – that a person can destroy the dog. I would hate to see the community start doing that because a lot of times it’s not the dog’s fault. It’s the people that owned the dogs that aren’t controlling them.”

During the meeting, the council made the decision to begin pursuing Chapter 55 city ordinance violations against the dogs’ owners.

This is a continuing story and will be updated as more information becomes available and following next Monday’s Traer City Council meeting slated for 7 p.m. at City Hall.