City Council Tables Mandatory Pit Bull Spaying/Neutering

Published : Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | 5:10 AM

Shortly before midnight Monday, as hundreds of dog owners filled its chambers and spilled into the hallway, the Pasadena City Council voted 5-3 to continue  until its July 14 meeting its consideration of a city ordinance that would mandate the spaying or neutering of all pit bulls.

As part of the passed motion, city staff is directed to come back at that time with additional ordinance options, including an all-breed, all-dog mandatory spay-neuter ordinance, not just specific to pit bulls. A full report by Pasadena Humane Society on animal euthanasia at the shelter was also requested to be presented at that time.

Councilmember Steve Madison, who proposed the originally proposed the ordinance, proved relentless in his advocating his position, as did the crowd of about 200 pit bull enthusiasts with theirs.

About 55 community members spoke during public comment.

While Councilmembers John J. Kennedy, Terry Tornek, and Gene Masuda voted against the motion to table/continue the issue on breed-specific spay neuter for pit bulls for future discussion in July,  the rest of the Council wanted to include the pit bull portion as part of their bigger conversation that will address possible mandatory spaying and neutering of all dogs.

Councilmembers John J. Kennedy, Terry Tornek and Gene Masuda voted against the motion to table/continue the issue on breed-specific spay neuter for pit bulls for future discussion in July.

Councilmembers Steve Madison, Victor Gordo, Margaret McAustin, Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson and Mayor Bill Bogaard voted in favor of the proposal to table item to be brought back July 14.

The vote reflected the Council’s prevailing opinion that additional research will be available over the summer which could be helpful to making a more informed decision.  The Pasadena Humane Society is expected to complete its city-wide canvas to license all dogs by June.

The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA had earlier provided data showing pit bulls comprise a disproportionately high number of unwanted dogs in Pasadena with pit bull breeds accounting for 27% of dogs euthanized and only 10% of dogs adopted out by the Pasadena Humane Society.

In a recent Pasadena incident, a man was trapped inside his car by an aggressive pit bull in the area of Washington and Lincoln as reported by Pasadena Humane Society animal control officer Lt. Nemesio Arteaga on January 11th. The dog was tasered by responding Pasadena police, but shook off the effects and escaped. It was picked up as a stray two days later and ultimately the owner volunteered to surrender the pit bull to the Humane Society.

Following the incident Artega said in his 17 years of experience he has seen all types of aggressive dogs and the number of pit bull-related calls in Pasadena does not outnumber calls about other breeds.

There have been no reported pit bull attacks resulting in death in Pasadena.

The Pasadena Humane Society has also spoken against the breed specific legislation, saying that targeting specific breeds is too difficult to enforce and will end up costing more in the long term.

“Pit bulls are a very common breed right now, but in my experience the popularity of dog breed changes. To write an ordinance for a specific type of dog isn’t practical for a long term solution,” Campo said. “Often times it’s the circumstances and not the breed itself that is the cause of an attack.”