Barstow, California May Consider Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance for “Pit Bulls”

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Aug 26th, 2010
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From the Victorville Daily Press:

A consultant working with Barstow to update its vicious-dog ordinance recommends that the city consider a mandatory spay-and-neuter law. But whether that law would require all dog owners to fix their animals or only to pit bull owners is up to city officials, he says.

…A draft of the updated vicious-dog ordinance is currently being reviewed by city staff.

…Under state law, the city can’t establish a law that targets specific breed except when it comes to population control.

Cities and counties can establish mandatory spay and neuter laws, but they have to provide the state with statistical information on dog bites, including how serious the bite was, the breed of dog involved and whether the dog was fixed.

Read this article in its entirety here.

Look at these statistics from San Mateo and Los Angeles Counties, California, who’ve had mandatory spay/neuter laws since 1991 and 2000 respectively.  The nation’s very first mandatory spay/neuter law was passed in San Mateo County, California, in 1991. As a result,

* Dog euthanasia increased by 126%, and cat euthanasia by 86%.
* Areas of the county not covered by the MSN law saw decreases in dog/cat euthanasia.
* Licensure compliance declined by 35% during this time.

Los Angeles County’s mandatory spay/neuter law, passed in 2000, saw,

* A decline in licensing compliance.
* The Animal Control budget rise from $6.7 million to $18 million.
* The city hiring additional Animal Control officers and the purchasing of new trucks and equipment just to enforce the new law.

Clearly Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America author Nathan Winograd’s prophetic statement that, “Punitive legislation will only discourage people from caring for homeless pets or drive disadvantaged people ‘underground,’ making them even harder to reach and help” has been proven true.  You can see that legislation which serves only to punish lower-income pet owners will only alienate them.  If driven “underground” as Winograd maintains, then these same lower-income pet owners may also be hesitant to vaccinate their pets as well.  They may in effect, then, disappear from off the radar.

The solution is not punitive legislation which has already proven ineffective; the solution is access to more low-cost spay/neuter clinics and better education about spaying and neutering for all dogs, not just “pit bulls.”  In this way, the city will have worked with its citizens instead of passing a measure which will only go on to see resistance and the impossibility of enforcement.

Please write the Barstow Mayor and City Council and politely inform them that it has long been known that mandatory spay/neuter laws — whether breed-specific or not — don’t work, and worse, keep people from vaccinating and taking their dogs to the vet.

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