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Riverside County Considers Sterilizing All Pit Bulls

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Riverside County is considering an ordinance that would require all pit bulls and pit bull mixes to be spayed or neutered by the time they're four months old.

County supervisors are considering the ordinance for two reasons. First, there's a glut of unwanted pit bulls: 20 percent of the dogs who end up in Animals Services are pit bull breeds, and they make up 30 percent of the dogs euthanized. Also, the supervisors also say that they're concerned that the breeds pose a threat to residents.

Just this week a 2-year-old was mauled to death in his backyard across county lines in San Bernardino County. An elderly woman was attacked in Jurupa earlier this year. The Riverside Press-Enterprise notes that this year a 91-year-old woman in Hemet was mauled to death, and a 57-year-old in Hemet, a 15-year-old girl in Corona and a 76-year-old in San Jacinto have also been attacked by pit bulls this year.

The ordinance would only affect dogs in unincorporated areas of the county. There would be exceptions granted for law enforcement dogs, assistance dogs, dogs too elderly or sick to undergo the procedure or registered breeders. The breeds included in the ordinance would be Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Stafford Terriers "or any mixed breed which contains ... any one of these breeds so as to be identifiable as partially of one or more of these breeds," according to NBC Los Angeles.

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The ASPCA, along with other defenders of pit bulls, are against breed specific legislation (BSL), saying that it doesn't end up being effective.

"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 veterinarian Melanie Verreault, according to ABC 7. "Breed specific legislation is being repealed because it does not work and it just does harbor fear amongst people in those communities against certain breeds of dogs."

However, a recent Press-Enterprise editorial in favor of the ordinance said that similar laws around the state have been effective:

San Bernardino County approved a similar ordinance in 2010, and dog bites for all breeds declined by more than 19 percent the following year. San Francisco adopted a spay and neuter ordinance for pit bulls in 2006, and in the following 18 months, the number of pit bulls in shelters dropped by 21 percent, while pit bull euthanizations decreased by nearly one-fourth.

There will be a public hearing on the ordinance on October 8.Related:
Grandmother, Uncle Arrested In Fatal Dog-Mauling Of 2-Year-Old Boy
Elderly Woman Mauled By Pit Bulls, Dogs Euthanized
Woman Attacked By 2 Pit Bulls In Riverside While Walking Her Dog
Jogger Mauled To Death By Pit Bulls