Man Sues City Of Sibley Over His Protest Of Odor Problem In The Town

Fri 3-9-2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A northwest Iowa man who said his hometown smelled like "rancid dog food" because of an animal food processing plant sued the city Thursday after he says they threatened to silence him.

Josh Harms with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed suit in U.S. District Court asking a judge to block Sibley officials from making legal threats or taking action to force him to remove criticism from his website. Harms created a website entitled, "Should You Move to Sibley, Iowa ?" to point out city officials' lack of action on the stench from Iowa Drying and Processing, which makes a high-protein animal food supplement from pig blood.

The company moved to a vacant building in Sibley in 2013 and Harms began publishing his protest website in 2015. In December, the city's attorney Daniel DeKoter sent Harms a letter saying Harms was hurting the community with his website. DeKoter claimed that a doctor declined to move to town after reading it and that his complaints interfered with recruitment of businesses and new residents and negatively affected property values. DeKoter told Harms that the city had sued the company and the odor problem was mostly solved. Harms said the odor may be better but remains a problem.

Harms said he fears that the government is targeting him.

The company that owns the plant meanwhile recently filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming its ordinance is vague and arbitrarily enforced.

(From the Associated Press).