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Long Beach : Vicious Dog Rules Studied

August 20, 1987

In response to growing concerns about the dangers of pit bulls, the city's health officer this week presented various suggestions, including an increase in fines and mandating that owners of vicious dogs take out liability insurance.

Vice Mayor Warren Harwood, who requested a study of programs aimed at protecting people from dog attacks, criticized the report as "mild." The council Tuesday forwarded the suggestions to its legislative committee for review.

Harwood said he wants to see Long Beach pursue an ordinance similar to the one enacted recently in Los Angeles which gives that city greater ability to control vicious and barking dogs.

Long Beach Health Officer Rugmini Shah suggested, among other things, that the bail for violators of the leash law be increased from $17 and the fine for not having a dog license be increased from $13. She also suggested that the council review a San Diego ordinance provision which mandates that owners of vicious dogs carry $100,000 liability insurance, or post a $35,000 bond.

Harwood criticized the proposals as insufficient and called the liability insurance suggestion absurd. "After a child has his face scarred, there's little consolation in getting insurance," he said.

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