Pit bulls in unincorporated Riverside County must be neutered, spayed


The Riverside County Animal Shelter is the last stop for many pit bulls. The breed is often euthanized because they are rarely adopted.

"I just get very, very tired at our meetings about hearing how many pit bulls we had to put down, euthanize, kill," said Supervisor John Benoit.

The supervisors passed an ordinance requiring all pit bulls more than 4 months old to be spayed or neutered. Exemptions include licensed registered breeders, dogs that are used for law enforcement purposes and assistance animals.

At a public hearing, people on both side of the issue spoke out, including Linda Collingsworth, whose 2-year-old granddaughter was killed by a pit bull in 2003.

"It seems like through all the tragedies that people would wake up and see that these dogs are not meant to be pets," said Collingsworth.

Riverside resident Clifford Duncan held up the newspaper articles of a recent mauling, pointing out the death of 2-year-old Eli Zamudio, who was killed by his grandmother's pit bull mixes.

"I beg you to pass this ordinance, and I tell you if you do, I will be in front of the Riverside City Council pushing it to be passed for the city as well," said Duncan.

But pit bull owners say the breed is not to blame.

"It is more about the people that are getting a hold of these dogs. We're always going to have problems with people and we've got to understand how to address those instead of wiping out an entire breed," said pit bull owner Robert Lee.

Opponents of the ordinance say stories of pit bull attacks have unfairly targeted the animals.

"The media does...sensationalize a lot of this pit bull breeds and because they're based on media attention and ratings," said Veronica Hernandez.

Beaumount City Councilwoman Brenda Knight, a victim of a pit bull attack herself, disagrees.

"We are seeing pit bulls in the news, because, pit bulls when they attack, the injury inflicted may be catastrophic," said Knight.

The ordinance will only apply to pit bulls in the unincorporated area of the county. Supervisors are hoping cities within the county will follow suit.

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