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San Bernardino County weighs mandatory spay/neuter for pit bulls and pit bull mixes

June 22, 2010 |  4:08 pm

Pit bull

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has approved a measure that would require all pit bulls and pit bull mixes in the county to be spayed or neutered. Owners who refuse to alter their pets would face fines.

Dealing with the county's pit bulls specifically, rather than all dogs regardless of breed, was "an imminent issue that we felt had to be addressed because of the recent attacks," Supervisor Neil Derry said, referring to the deaths of two San Bernardino County children in separate incidents involving pit bulls this year. Four county residents have been killed in incidents involving pit bulls over the last five years.

A final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for July, and it is expected to pass handily. When it goes into effect, pit bulls and pit mixes over 4 months of age will be required to be spayed or neutered. The county will give vouchers to low-income dog owners to subsidize the cost of sterilization surgery. Owners who ignore the ordinance will face a $100 fine for the first offense, with subsequent offenses drawing a stiffer penalty.

Derry, who co-sponsored the measure, said he views legislation requiring pit bulls to be altered as a preliminary step toward ultimately implementing spay/neuter requirements for all San Bernardino County dogs. Such a requirement is already on the books in the nearby city of Los Angeles.

Learn more about the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors' efforts to mandate the altering of pit bulls at The Times' local news blog, L.A. Now.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

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