With a controversial new ordinance set to take effect next week, some believe the county's to blame for reports of abandoned pit bulls. The ordinance, passed unanimously by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, calls for the sterilization of pit bulls and pit bulls mixes older than four months old in unincorporated areas. It's geared to control the stray population and cut down on pit bull attacks.
Some opponents fear the ordinance could make dog dumping worse in an area already prone to it. An empty dirt road stretches just inside the Indio city line. People who live near or along the road call it by a morbid nickname. "Dead dog alley," said Christine Madruga, the director of the Pet Rescue Center in Coachella. "Where those dogs are just chucked out of cars and people drive away and they get run over."
Two 3-month old, female pit bulls were left on the road by their owner over the weekend. John Zimmer found the puppies and called county animal services. He gave the officer $210 to cover the costs of someone adopting the two puppies. It's not the first time Zimmer's found dogs. He found two of his three dogs in the road and took them in. "It's heartbreaking to see people so desperate that they're dropping dogs off where nobody's going to take care of them and I guess they assume they're going to die," said Zimmer.
The opponents of the new ordinance fear the new ordinance could make "Dead Dog Alley" even more popular. "People don't spay and neuter because they can't afford it," said Madruga. "There's going to be more dogs dumped off."
Homeowners aren't the only ones dealing with the dog dumping problem. The Pet Rescue Center recently put up signs and cameras to prevent people from throwing their dogs over the wall. "Warning people that it's against the law," said Madruga. "I'm hoping we will make just a little bit of a difference."
Madruga knows she's making a difference by rescuing small, abandoned dogs and helping them find owners. Though she sees problems with the new ordinance, Madruga believes there's a solution to save unwanted pit bulls from getting dumped. "We need more facilities working together spaying and neutering, re-homing these animals and finding a happy medium there," said Madruga.
The ordinance takes effect on November 7. We called county supervisor John Benoit for comment, he was unavailable.