Is Pasadena, CA Seeking Mandatory Spay Neuter for Pit Bulls as Retribution or to Racially Profile?

Recently, when the Pasadena City Council was considering a mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) ordinance for all dog owners, advocates claimed the political maneuver was really a “thinly veiled attack on pit bulls.”   Instead of pulling back in light of such criticism, it looks like the Pasadena City Council just decided to acknowledge that, yes, they were in fact targeting so-called pit bulls and their owners, which is why on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, the Pasadena City Council voted 6-1 in favor of drafting breed-specific legislation (BSL) that would mandate the spaying/neutering of all pit bulls within the city.  

The lone ‘no’ vote, was Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson, one of two African-Americans on the council.   I wonder if she knows, like many in the dog lobby who’ve been fighting BSL for a long time, that breed-specific legislation has a long history of being racist legislation.   And yes, even breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter legislation, doesn’t just target pit bulls, but often their minority owners, typically African-Americans and Latinos.  

The racial make-up of Pasadena is approximately 10% African-American, and 33% Latino.   So just like in neighboring Riverside and Riverside County, who likewise passed a breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter law for pit bulls, maybe these MSN ordinances have less to do with pit bulls, and more to do with their minority owners.  

The dog lobby sees this frequently.   A city has an uptick in crime and racial profiling is of course illegal and horribly politically incorrect, so instead of profiling a minority group who is perceived as being responsible for the crime surge (as if only African-Americans or Latinos joined gangs and/or committed crimes!) they just pass some pretense legislation, like a breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter law, and use it to profile the dogs’ minority owners.  

How does that work you may be wondering?   Well, in 2008, Chicago tried something similar.   The Chicago City Council was likewise considering a breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter law for pit bulls, and Alderman Ed Burke advertised the breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter law this way:  

When you drive down the street and see a gang banger with all kinds of gang regalia walking along with two or three pit bulls, its pretty simple for the policeman to raise the dogs tail and see whether or not its spayed or neutered. If its not, the gang member is in violation, Burke said, noting that street gangs operate dog-fighting rings (Chicago Sun-Times).

Yes, Chicago certainly did and does need to crack down on gang violence.   But in this case, Chicagos breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter ordinance would have operated as a pretense, a falsely claimed reason, to racially profile anyone with a so-called pit bull.   And since authorities have long maintained that so-called pit bulls were for the most-part owned by thugs, drug dealers, and gang bangers, and those people in those neighborhoods, it was perfectly clear just exactly who the targets of the breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter ordinance would be.

So is Pasadena — like Riverside, Riverside County, and Redlands, California — attempting to  surreptitiously racially profile using a breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter ordinance?   The city of Riverside is 49% Latino and 7% African-American.   The County of Riverside is comparable to Riverside in demographics, as you might well imagine.   And Redlands is approximately 5% African-American and 30% Latino.   Do these cities really want to tell their constituents there’s no racial component in these breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter laws?  

So yes, it looks like pit bull advocates in Pasadena were half right.   Pasadena is profiling pit bulls, and possibly retributively, but I would submit to these advocates that Pasadena is also profiling minorities.


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