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L.A. County's New Dog Law Does Have Teeth

April 09, 2002

David Harvey (Voices, March 30) wrote about dangerous dogs and the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control's response to a problem he had in 1999.

Last year, at our department's request, the Board of Supervisors adopted one of the toughest dangerous dog suppression ordinances in California. Prior to this, the department could take action only if a person was actually attacked and bitten by a dog. Now we can initiate a case when dogs attack other dogs or if they menace and pose a threat to people.

Most animal control agencies in California hold in-house hearings as a first step in dangerous dog cases and go to court only as a last resort when the owners of dangerous or vicious dogs ignore or fail to follow the administrative guidelines that come out of the hearings. Under the ordinance, our department and the office of the county counsel take every potentially dangerous or vicious dog case directly to court for prosecution. We have won legally enforceable orders in every case presented for trial and have never lost a potentially dangerous dog case.

Our agency impounds aggressive and menacing dogs, almost on a daily basis, and we are fully aware of the danger they pose to people and pets. We are preparing to go to court on several cases and will continue to use the county's dangerous dog law as often as necessary until everyone who owns these animals understands the risks the dogs pose and thinks twice about the wisdom of keeping such an animal.

Marcia Mayeda

Director, Los Angeles County

Department of Animal

Care and Control

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