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Hearing to be held on proposal to sterilize pit bulls

October 07, 2013|By Robert J. Lopez

Officials in Riverside County are scheduled to hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed ordinance that would require pit bulls and pit bull mixes to be sterilized in unincorporated areas of the county.

Under the ordinance being considered by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, sterilization would be required for pit bulls and pit bull mixes 4 months or older. Failure to get a dog sterilized would be an infraction or misdemeanor crime, according to the proposal.

The ordinance would not apply to pit bulls owned by licensed breeders, law enforcement authorities or people who need the animals for assistance. The proposal was initially approved last month by the supervisors in a 5-0 vote but will voted on again after the hearing.

PHOTOS: Toddler mauled to death by pit bulls

Last month, a 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by five pit bulls in San Bernardino County. In August, a woman in Riverside County was hospitalized after she was attacked by two pit bulls. And in May a pack of pit bulls killed a woman out for a walk in the Antelope Valley.

"It's gotten to the point where the policymakers want to see a significant change. And this ordinance is a step in that direction," said John Welsh, spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

He said pit bulls account for about 20% of the dogs currently in county animal shelters and that the agency has a difficult time finding homes for the dogs.

"These pit bulls are not the ones getting adopted by the dozens," Welsh told The Times.

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Twitter: @LAJourno

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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