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Riverside County considers law on sterilizing pit bulls

September 25, 2013|By Joseph Serna
  • A pit bull involved in an attack in the Antelope Valley earlier this year.
A pit bull involved in an attack in the Antelope Valley earlier this year. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

Riverside County supervisors are considering an ordinance that would require pit bulls not owned by certain groups to be sterilized in all unincorporated cities.

The ordinance — which would affect pit bulls older than 4 months if they are not owned by licensed breeders, law enforcement or people who need them for assistance — was initially approved 5 to 0 Tuesday with a second reading scheduled for next month.

Dogs in special training would also receive an exemption.

Supervisor Jeff Stone said the law was particularly relevant given recent headlines on pit bull attacks. On Monday, a 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by five pit bull mixes in San Bernardino County.

PHOTOS: Toddler mauled to death by pit bulls

In August, a woman in Riverside County was hospitalized after she was attacked by two pit bulls.

In May, a pack of pit bulls killed a woman in the Antelope Valley as she was out for a walk.

“There is a small group of breeders out there that have been selectively enhancing … these dogs to kill, to maim,”  Stone said. “Those are the ones I’m concerned about.”

One breeder spoke up at Tuesday’s meeting and cautioned county officials that a restrictive ordinance could force breeders underground to avoid regulations.

Supervisor John Benoit said the breed’s reputation works against it. In Riverside County, pit bulls constitute 20% of all dogs impounded and 30% of the dogs that are euthanized.

“Unfortunately, there are not enough people that walk into a facility interested in adopting a dog who want to take home a pit bull just because of the unknowns,” he said.

The five pit bull mixes involved in Monday’s attack in Colton were euthanized Tuesday, police said.

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

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