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Riverside County pit bull sterilization ordinance moves forward

September 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Riverside County supervisors want to crack down on pit bulls, requiring the dogs be fixed after they're 4 months old. But some say the proposed ordinance would unfairly target just one breed.

There are hundreds of pit bulls in the county animal shelters. Officials say they make up about 20 percent of all the dogs in there, and more often than not, that is their last stop.

"About 30 percent of our euthanasia is pit bulls, or pit bull-type breeds, and it's because they are very hard to place," said Kim McWhorter with Riverside County Animal Services.

Tuesday, Riverside supervisors took up an ordinance that would require all pit bulls more than 4 months old to be spayed or neutered. At the hearing, Brenda Knight, who is also a member of the Beaumont City Council, said she was the victim of a pit bull attack.

"Many people are playing Russian roulette with these pets, or what I call pit bull roulette, because you don't know when they are going to go off," said Knight.

"The image that a lot of people have of a pit bull is on a heavy chain at the end of a leash from some drug runner or something like that, and that's simply not the case," said Melanie Verreault, a veterinarian.

Verreault says the stories of pit bull attacks have been sensationalized in the media and this action unfairly targets just one breed.

"Breed specific legislation is being repealed because it does not work and it just does harbor fear amongst people in those communities against certain breeds of dogs," said Verreault.

Riverside supervisors say these dogs are simply too dangerous and passed stage 1 of the ordinance unanimously. There will be a public hearing on Oct. 8. The ordinance would also require the licensing of pit bulls used for breeding, and they would have to be housed in licensed kennels.

"We just need to make sure that once they leave the disposition of these trainers that they're not getting in the hands of people that are irresponsible," said Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone.

This is the first ordinance that targets pit bull breeding in Riverside County. Officials say other cities in the county might adopt it as well.


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