Riverside City Council Votes on Pit Bull Sterilization Law
As a personal injury attorney in Riverside, California, I’ve seen many clients who have been attacked or bitten by animals, mainly dogs. These often-severe injuries can leave the victim with life-altering disabilities in addition to a fear of animals that could follow them their entire life.
Fair or not, pit bulls are often believed to be aggressive dogs that cause many of these injuries. In an effort to contain the pit bull population (and hopefully reduce the number of dog bite attacks in Riverside County), county supervisors voted on Oct. 8 for a new rule that requires pit bulls to be sterilized.
The law requires that pit bulls and pit bull mixes be spayed or neutered. Riverside’s current rule already states that nearly all dogs be fixed, but the law is only enforced when pet owners are cited for other infractions (like a dog bite).
Riverside County Animal Services says a disproportionate number of pit bulls end up in shelters (making up twenty percent of all shelter dogs) and require euthanasia, according to a report from The Press-Enterprise.
Spaying and neutering dogs often makes them less aggressive as well as less likely to roam out of their owner’s yard or home.
In 2013 alone, there have been at least eight Inland cases of pit bulls seriously injuring or killing people. The latest included a two-year-old being mauled to death by family dogs in Colton.
The law would apply to Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bull Terriers, American Stafford Terriers, and mixes in which those breeds are easily identifiable. Registered breeders, dogs with health issues that prevent sterilization, and law enforcement canines would be excluded.
Many argue that sterilization won’t fix the problem and that irresponsible owners are the real issue.