Pit bull ordinance moves forward in Riverside County, CA

Claiming that pit bull and pit bull mixes significantly impact the health and safety of residents and their pets, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services recommended the passing of an ordinance that would require all pit bulls to be spayed or neutered.

After hearing from their constituents yesterday afternoon, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to direct staff to draft an ordinance that would mandate spay and neuter of pit bulls and pit bull mixes across unincorporated areas of the county.

Nearly a dozen people spoke passionately at the hearing on Tuesday in front of the Supervisors.

Both the executive director of  Animal Friends of the Valleys and Beaumont City Councilwoman Brenda Knight spoke in favor of the ordinance and argued that pit bulls have a “different, more lethal bite than other canines.” 

Those who spoke against the proposed ordinance argued that dogs were the product of their environment and upbringing, and laws that mandate spay/neuter  of specific breeds of dogs punishes good owners.  Others urged that while they support spay and neuter of all breeds, the county should consider programs that can help lower sterilization costs of all pets.

According to the Banning/Beaumont Patch, a search through municipal codes for the cities in the area finds no ordinances specifically pertaining to pit bulls (likely due to the fact that breed specific ordinances are prohibited by California state law).  However, Beaumont is considering an ordinance that makes it easier to declare a dog potentially dangerous, and adding to the “remedies” an animal control officer has at their disposal when dealing with said animals– one of them being the option to require spaying/neutering. That ordinance, though, states that a dog can be  declared potentially dangerous if an animal control officer finds “probable cause,” but does not set forth what “probable cause” is.

If the Riverside County Board of Supervisors  approve a pit-bull specific ordinance, it will only apply to the unincorporated areas of the county.  However, cities have the option to adopt similar ordinances.  Ideally, the Supervisors want to create a  “model ordinance” for cities to follow.

Any proposed ordinance would be the subject of at least two public hearings before the board.

Regardless of your position on spaying and neutering of pets, it is important to remember that any law that applies to one breed or grouping of dogs involves the practice of breed profiling and is breed specific legislation. Breed specific MSN is fraught with the many problems associated with BSL, and opens the door for future additional breed restrictions.

Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors listed below.

Talking points related to breed specific MSN can be found here.

Riverside County Board of Supervisors
(Block copy & paste e-mail)
district1@rcbos.org,District2@rcbos.org,district4@rcbos.org,
district3@rcbos.org, district5@rcbos.org

Jay Orr
County Executive Officer
County Administrative Center
4080 Lemon Street – 4th Floor
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 955-1110
ceo@rceo.org

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