Following several incidents of mauling by pit bulls in the Inland Empire, the county of Riverside is proposing a drastic measure:
Sterilizing all pit bulls, with some exceptions, within their jurisdiction. Breed bias, you cry. But county Department of Animal Services officials say pit bulls represent one of five dogs it impounds and 30 percent of the canines it has to euthanize:
In supporting the idea, the Riverside Press-Enterprise editorial board over the weekend listed recent attacks:
So far this year, the breed has been responsible for mauling an 87-year-old Jurupa Valley woman in January, killing a 91-year-old woman in Hemet in February, injuring a 76-year-old San Jacinto woman in March, attacking a 57-year-old Hemet woman in April, hospitalizing a 15-year-old Corona girl in May and mauling a Riverside woman this month. Reliable statistics about dog attacks by specific breeds are scarce, but six serious attacks in less than a year is a disturbing record of carnage.
The mandatory spaying and neutering would not apply to dogs licensed before the ordinance's introduction, duty pit bulls used by law enforcement, assistance dogs, canines that have a vet's note for medical exceptions, kennel pit bulls that are owned by a non-Riverside County resident, and dogs whose exact breed is still being determined.
A public hearing for the proposal, introduced yesterday, was set for Oct. 8.
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The law would apply to pit bulls four months and older.
Although the county of Riverside says state law allows it to target such a breed, groups such as the ASPCA are against breed-specific rules. The group claims, "There's no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill."