Council bites back

Council bites back

City approves ordinance requiring owners to sterilize pit bulls  

By André Coleman 11/27/2013

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Pit bull owners who claimed recent efforts to draft an ordinance requiring all dog owners to spay and neuter their pets was a thinly veiled attack on pit bulls were apparently right after all.

On Monday, the Pasadena City Council voted 6-1 to have city staff draft an ordinance that would require all pit bull owners to sterilize their pets once the dog reaches 4 months. Registered breeders, animals used by law enforcement and dogs facing health issues during sterilization are exempt from the new law. 

Only Councilwoman Jacque Robinson voted against the measure introduced by Councilman Steve Madison. Councilman John Kennedy was absent from the meeting. 

“Every month or two you hear about a pit bull killing a toddler or senior,” said Madison. “We want to stop it before it happens here.” 
While other communities have experienced these types of incidents, there have been no fatalities caused by pit bulls in Pasadena.

In October, a man was bitten by a pit bull that was not on a leash while walking his dog in Victory Park. The man was trying to stop the animal from mauling his pet. Councilman Gene Masuda, whose district includes Victory Park, told the Pasadena Weekly that the man was not seriously injured. Since the incident, the Public Works Department has placed more signage in the park, reminding dog owners to keep their pets on leashes.
Pasadena Humane Society Spokesman Ricky Whitman said that the agency opposed the new ordinance, which is modeled after a similar law recently passed in Riverside County. 

“Who is going to determine if a dog is a pit bull?” Whitman said. “This will solve the problem short term, but the long-term problem is population control and we favor a mandatory spaying and neutering ordinance on all breeds.”

Fifteen percent of the dogs in the care of the Pasadena Humane Society are pit bulls, while 27 percent of all dogs euthanized are of that breed. Under the new ordinance, pet owners out of compliance could be charged with a misdemeanor or an infraction and face fines.
On a number of occasions since 2008, city officials have discussed imposing a ban on pit bulls or initiating mandatory neutering of the breed. Each time, the council was discouraged from taking those routes due to a California state law prohibiting the banning of particular breeds. Spaying and neutering have been shown to reduce aggression in dogs, according to a city staff report, which is what a number of council members said they want to see happen, especially when it comes to pit bulls.

The ordinance is modeled after a similar ordinance unanimously passed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors targeting pit bulls for mandatory sterilization, requiring spaying and neutering of all pits older than 4 months. Previously it was believed that an ordinance targeting a specific breed was illegal, but according to Public Works Director Siobhan Foster, the city consulted with officials in Riverside before placing the item on the council agenda in Pasadena.

“We are confident it can stand up to any legal challenge,” Siobhan said.


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Thank you, to the men of women of the Pasadena police department and every other police department. While most of us enjoy the holidays with our family and friends many of you have to work. You'll probably say that it comes with the territory, but please know that we appreciate your dedication to duty and and making sure our neighborhoods remain safe. Stay well and enjoy your turkey when you can.

posted by Maggie Tee on 11/28/13 @ 02:29 p.m.

Of the 4,372 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 2,929 (67%) were pit bulls; 541 were Rottweilers; 3,723 were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 525 human fatalities, 272 were killed by pit bulls; 84 were killed by Rottweilers; 393 (75%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,619 people who were disfigured, 1,774 (67%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 319 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,192 (83%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls--exclusive of their use in dogfighting--also inflict about 10 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are less than 6% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

posted by MerrittClifton on 11/28/13 @ 04:27 p.m.
posted by AngelVictims on 11/28/13 @ 06:55 p.m.

MerrittClifton, those are some impressive numbers. Why don't you include with your post a link, or other information to confirm from whom and where you got the statistics, and that you're not just being inventive.


posted by DanD on 11/29/13 @ 06:35 p.m.

Keep in mind the numbers with Pitbull type dogs is four separate breeds. And there are many different types of dogs that look like people type dog including Cane Corso, mastif, boxers/bulldog mix, as well as many of the reports being done by citizens versus animal experts. The media has been infamous for glorifying different pitbull type attacks using examples calling them "family pets turning on the owners" only to find out later these were malnourished on altered, Guard dogs, ect. The Pitbull placebo is a pretty good book-it tells the rest of the story of many many different types of issues where people have been injured by dogs. One lady let her toddler be in the basement with mating dogs- Good Lord where does human responsibility come in? It's obvious all dogs should be altered- there's an overpopulation of every breed. But if you Google Labrador malls child- golden retriever, border collie, Boxer and of course Pitbull- horrific pictures pop up for each and everyone of them even Wiener dogs! Yes! Hold animal owners responsible- and have breed neutral animal control laws!!

posted by Robyn on 12/01/13 @ 11:32 a.m.

There's nothing wrong with spaying and neutering dogs, so long as you don't discriminate. What does your city consider a pit bull to be, since pit bull is a generic term for several breeds of dogs and mixed breed dogs that have a block head which varies from town to town, shelter to shelter and person to person. This is all done without DNA testing.

The only breed of dog that has pit bull in its name is the American Pit Bull Terrier and anyone with half or more of a brain knows that most dogs out there are mixed breed dogs because there is no widespread regulation of breeding of dogs.

So, once again, you take the discriminatory route and don't address the reason behind dog bites. A woman was killed by her own German Shepherd a few months ago, a retriever/lab mix killed an infant along with a Husky and five retriever/husky mixes attacked a girl and the latest was a Bull Mastiff. Fatalities average 30 to 33 per year out of at least 72 million dogs and 300 million people and most of the dogs involved are mixed breed dogs with a few purebreds. Why do they call a dog a pit/lab mix instead of a lab/pit mix. Because of bias and discrimination, all fueled by the media hype and people who aren't willing to learn what dogs are all about. Go to KC Dog Blog Face Book and he breaks down the fatalities and shows that in every case it was people who hadn't a clue how to be a responsible dog owner or just didn't care. That's why all types of dogs bite and many types kill.

If I lived in Pasadena, I would demand DNA testing be done and paid for by the city to prove whether or not my dog fell under your vague determinations of the mythical pit bull type dog. So when you have a mixed breed dog, how much of a block head or some breed that supposedly is considered a pit bull type dog has to be in that dog to call it a pit bull (not a breed) and again, why aren't dogs called lab/pit mixes.

Sorry you felt you needed to discriminate against responsible dog owners who would spay and neuter their dogs any way and the reckless dog owners and breeders will just keep doing the same thing unless they go to jail. Not listening to this newest discriminatory law like any other law, such as leash laws that rarely get enforced.

posted by stupidisntit17 on 12/01/13 @ 11:42 a.m.

Good luck enforcing this.

posted by russmen626 on 12/03/13 @ 08:14 p.m.

This seems to be more of an owner than dog (breed or otherwise) issue. Helping the Humane Society and other organizations expand their great work of (1) dog obedience training; and (2) enforcement of leash and dog licensing laws is key to promoting responsible dog ownership. This should be combined with a mandatory spay/neuter law to help alleviate overpopulation. We don't want to penalize responsible Pit Bull owners who love their dogs. Thanks for covering this story!

posted by felixtcat11 on 12/13/13 @ 10:49 a.m.
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