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Last Week’s Dog Attack Has Not Changed Politicians’ Opinions on Tabled Ordinance

Published on Friday, January 31, 2014 | 3:03 pm

While dog attacks can pose a threat in Pasadena as evidenced by last week’s onslaught against a cyclist that resulted in police shooting three described as pit bulls, two members of the Pasadena City Council reaffirmed their conviction that tabling the proposed mandate to spay or neuter all pit bulls was the right thing to do.

Monday the Council discussed a proposal by Councilmember Steve Madison to require the mandatory spaying and neutering of all pit bull or pit bull mix breeds. The item was tabled for further discussion in July when the Council will also contemplate the mandatory spay and neuter of all dogs, as requested by the Pasadena Humane Society.

“No one denies that there are dog attacks and that some of them [involve] pit bulls and that pit bulls can be dangerous,” Councilmember Terry Tornek said. “The evidence I was talking about was the evidence whether or not the ordinance that was being proposed would be part of the solution. Nothing that happened [Wednesday], if we had a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance, would have prevented that attack. The people that would abide by ordinance are not the people whose dogs were running loose.”

Tornek said it is an oversimplified response to simply connect dots and say the attack means that the ordinance should have passed on Monday.

“There’s no connection there. It’s silly, really,” Tornek said. “I’m not denying the notion that there’s a problem but again, the issue is how do we solve the problem. The proposal that we had before Monday night would not solve the problem.”

Despite Councilmember Madison’s calls for immediate action,  Mayor Bill Bogaard feels the Council is took the right step by tabling the proposal.

“Of course I’m sorry for the event that occurred on Wednesday because it’s precisely the kind of incident that we’re trying to avoid. But I think the Council is moving in the right direction to do what we can under California law to mitigate the situation and to reduce overpopulation. Whether we get started on that last Monday or a couple of months from now is not of overriding concern to me,” Bogaard said.

Tornek said he realizes the gravity of the problem of stray dogs and dog bites from personal experience. As a motorcyclist, he says he has been chased by dogs on his motorcycle and even bitten. He has also personally adopted dogs from the Pasadena Humane Society.

“But we can’t oversimplify the problem. These kind of superficial, feel-good proposals are not thoughtful and they don’t go to the core of the problem,” Tornek said.

Tornek said instead the focus should turn to who is responsible for those dogs.

“What can we do to educate people about obeying the existing laws and what can we do to make spaying and neutering affordable so that people can make it happen, and not have to give up their dog for euthanasia,” Tornek said.


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