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Pit Bulls Bring Out Fear, Love and Loathing

KURT MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Julie Clark of Valle Vista holds a sign at the supervisors meeting, a proponent of the pit bull sterilization ordinance, on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Riverside County Board of Supervisors hold public hearing, before they voted on pit bull sterilization ordinance.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Supervisors pass pit bull sterilization ordinance

Riverside Press Enterprise:

Pit bulls and pit bull mixes in unincorporated Riverside County must be spayed or neutered under terms of a sterilization ordinance the Board of Supervisors…

Pit bulls and pit bull mixes in unincorporated Riverside County must be spayed or neutered under terms of a sterilization ordinance the Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The 5-0 vote followed a sometimes emotional public hearing in which pit bull breeders and owners defended the dogs, and people affected by pit bull attacks urged supervisors to protect the public.

“This is a life and death issue,” said Brenda Knight, a Beaumont councilwoman who said she’s dealt with two pit bull attacks in six years. “We have frustration and fear in the community. We need to have something done.”

County officials have been working on the ordinance since April, when the board gave them the go-ahead to pursue it. It applies to pit bulls and pit bull mixes older than four months old in the county’s unincorporated areas.

Spaying or neutering will be required for the dogs to be licensed. Violators face an administrative citation or misdemeanor. There are several exemptions, including for licensed breeders, police dogs, dogs helping the blind and disabled, and dogs deemed too sick to be sterilized.

Supervisors asked for the ordinance following a series of highly publicized pit bull attacks against people, including the fatal mauling of a 91-year-old woman in Hemet in February and a January attack on an 84-year-old Jurupa Valley woman as she retrieved her mail.

In September, relatives said five pit bulls pulled 2-year-old Samuel Eli Zamudio from a window at his grandmother’s home in Colton and killed him. Colton is in San Bernardino County, which has a pit bull sterilization law on the books.

County animal control officials sought the ordinance to deal with what they said was an abundance of pit bulls in county shelters. The breed accounts for 20 percent of all shelter dogs and 30 percent of euthanized dogs, they said, adding that pit bulls are very difficult to find homes for.

Pit bull advocates say the breed is a victim of media sensationalism that contributes to an undeserved reputation for viciousness. Breed-specific legislation is wrong and won’t work, they contend, adding that with proper training, pit bulls make good pets.

Terry Armenta of Lake Elsinore said she came across Louie, her 3 ½-year-old pit bull, at a shelter and almost walked away when she found out he was a pit bull. She took a chance, and said Louie turned out to be a gentle, lovable dog who poses for pictures in Halloween costumes.

“My dog Louie and thousands of others like Louie would never harm (people),” Armenta said. “It saddens me that we want to pick on one breed.”

Supervisor John Tavaglione said he’s grown tired of hearing reports of pit bull attacks. He mentioned a number of recent attacks, including the one on Samuel.

“Is that sensationalism? I don’t think so,” Tavaglione said. “That’s death and maiming.”

Supervisor Jeff Stone said he supported the ordinance, although he hoped background checks could be done to weed out those who train pit bulls to attack.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said he was reluctant to back the ordinance at first until learning more about the rationale behind it.

“Are we overhyping pit bulls? Probably,” he said. But that’s not an excuse to ignore a public safety issue, Jeffries said.

With the ordinance now passed, Supervisor John Benoit, the board’s chairman, plans to send a letter to cities asking them to enact similar legislation.

The ordinance takes effect Nov. 7.

This is a hot button issue that has valid and crazy points and people on both sides.  Sadly behind most bad or aggressive dogs, animals in general, are bad and aggressive owners, breeders and handlers.  Not enough people step up and speak out for the dogs and against these people until something happens.  Personally… I’d rather see the owners sterilized or euthanized and the dogs re-trained when there are tragedies involving this breed or any breed because 99% of the time, the problems lie with the humans!!  Yet I understand how the people who have lost someone or were involved in a pit-bull or any dog attack feel.  There are no easy answers in such an emotional issue.

What I can say from personal experience is that my niece and her husband had two pit-bull mixes, one just passed away from cancer, and they were/are both the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met and my friend’s purebred Pit is a sweetheart as well.  The common thread is great, kind and conscientious owners.

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October 10, 2013 - Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures

2 Comments »

  1. […] Pit Bulls Bring Out Fear, Love and Loathing […]

    Pingback by It Is a Wrap!! Ask Marion 10.06.13 – 10.13.13 | askmarion | October 14, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] Pit Bulls Bring Out Fear, Love and Loathing  […]

    Pingback by BSL and Pit Bulls « JustOneMorePet | February 11, 2014 | Reply


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