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

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

Comments () | Archives (6)

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If you've had recent dog attacks, why don't you blame the OWNERS? Pits are trainable and educatable, but apparently people in your county aren't. Those dogs aren't at fault, their OWNERS are.

While it's awesome that you want to make sure your county doesn't add to the animal overpopulation issue, a) 4 months is too young to get your animal fixed, b) you shouldn't specify one breed, and c) any pet has the potential to attack; once again, education and training are the key.

Yep, I agree with C.H.--
thumbs up on the county taking on pet overpopulation;
thumbs down on picking on one breed.

I, too, agree with C.H. -- it's just laziness on behalf of legislators and law enforcement. I had a pit bull/terrier mix (he was a stray that followed me, and to this day he remains the most eccentric dog we've ever had), and we neutered him because we are responsible pet owners. Our choice. Aside from being weird, he was fine. He would escort strangers to the front door, and retire the minute the sun went down. Breed is not a determinant of behavior! All dogs are capable of aggression.

Look how L.A.'s mandatory spay/neuter law has changed EVERYTHING!
Now, we have no more unwanted dogs, the shelters are empty and there have been no dog bites since this amazing law passed.

Oh..I forgot....the law in unenforceable. Also, in L.A. you can just pay for a "breeder" permit and you don't have to neuter or spay your animal whether it is a pit bull, poodle or any mixed breed. Gee...laws fix everything!

B.S.L. (Breed-Specific Legislation) is not only costly to enforce, it is absolutely ineffective. Spaying and neutering of a specific breed of dog does not prevent dog attacks.

Our law makers should look at the cause of why these attacks happen; it is often a case of negligent owners and/or animal cruelty.

Tax dollars would be better spent on enforcing laws regarding classes on animal care for ALL dog owners, and licensing of dogs.

The argument that this spaying and neutering is good because it keeps the dog population down and keeps bully-breeds out of shelters is ridiculous, because this is not a measure to protect dogs, but rather, to single them out and vilify them as a "problem".

We have many resources on our website including sample letters, petitions, "bully-breed" temperament tests results (they've scored higher than Labrador retrievers), and maps or areas currently involved with B.S.L.

More anti-B.S.L. info, with a focus on California laws, can be found here:


In closing, if spaying and neutering is effective against violent behavior and attacks, I wonder why the animal cruelty epidemic against pit bulls doesn't spawn legislative measures against spaying and neutering Baltimore Area dog owners.

A list of articles on pit bulls being hung, chopped up with machetes, shot in the head, and beaten to death wall just in April - July of this year alone can be found here:


It's time to stop discriminating and start educating.

I applaud any and all attempts at reducing animal overpopulation. It is about time that mandatory spay-neuter laws are implemented and enforced. However, it saddens me to think that the only animals to reap such a rewards are the bully breeds, due to their strength and media-driven reputations. No animal deserves to be brought into this world as a companion animal, without a safe and happy home waiting for them. While I am encouraged and hopeful that this will bring less dogs to the shelter and force people to think twice about the reasons they want a dog, I fear that this will only continue to portray bully breeds in a negative light, and leave yet another strong breed to become the next 'dangerous dog'. German Shepherds, Dopermans, Bull-terriers....who's next?

Demand mandatory spay-neuter for all animals until shelters and euthanasia as a means of controlling animal overpopulation, is non-existent. There is no such thing as 'responsible breeding' while our tax dollars go towards killing our 4 legged friends.


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