THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - On the heels of some high-profile pit bull attacks, the Riverside County Board of supervisors voted unanimously in April to draft legislation mandating that all pit bulls be spayed or neutered.
Some critics say the breed specific legislation unjustly singles out pit bulls.
One of the people writing the new ordinance says the overarching goal is to keep pit bulls out of animal shelters.
"Although this is breed specific as far as spay and neuter, it's not breed specific as far as banning the specific breed in the county," said Riverside County Animal Services Deputy Director, Frank Corvino. "We are just trying to curb the number of animals that come into the shelters and end up being euthanized."
Pit bulls are brought in to the shelter more often that any other breed. Two out of every 10 dogs in the shelters are pit bulls. Pit bulls also account for nearly 30 percent of the dogs that are euthanized at Riverside County animal shelters.
"Pit bulls are 20 percent of our impounds. And there is a high euthenasia rate," Corvino said. "They are very hard to place once they're in the system. That goes for any animal control agency in the state. So anything that we can do that might affect a positive outcome for any dog, whether it's a pit bull or a chihuahua is something that we're in favor of."
Some say forcing all dogs of a specific breed to be fixed will amount to genocide. Corvino says it will never come close to that.
"We might have an evergreen clause in the law which would mean once we get to a certain point of animal impounds - once we're past a certain level, whatever the point is, say 6 percent of impounds into our shelter - when we're down to that level, then the law would evergreen. It would go away at that point," Corvino said.
Once written, the ordinance will go back to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to be voted on. That is expected to happen in late June or July. The law would only apply to unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
According to http://www.dogsbite.org/legislating-dangerous-dogs-california.php San Bernadino County, Sonoma County, and 10 cities in California have enacted breed specific legislation mandating pit bulls be sterilized.