The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance to mandate spaying/neutering of pit bulls county-wide.
The legislation will cover all pit bull and pit bull mix-breeds older than four months in unincorporated areas of the county.
The supervisors heard from the public before the vote. Supporters and opponents of the ordinance have called into question whether the legislation unfairly singles pit bulls out as a dangerous breed, and whether it will do anything to address the number of attacks and the over-representation of the breed in area shelters.
Linda Collinsworth of Temecula spoke in support of the action. Holding two protest signs aloft she said her 2-year-old granddaughter Somer Clugston was mauled to death by a pit bull ten years ago.
“Do you value your children or do you value that pit bull?" she asked KPCC's Corey Moore. "There’s no reason for them. There’s too many other loving dogs that you don’t have to worry about.”
Carl Dixon of Los Angeles County works with a group that cares for over 17 pit bulls, some of which he said have numerous awards at dog shows. He asked that the ordinance should exclude show dogs.
“When you spay or neuter a dog it almost balloons the dog. They get a barrel shape, they don’t have a waistline anymore," he said. "So when it comes to showing a dog in competition, you’re now at a disadvantage.”
Pit bulls in Riverside County make up 20 percent of all breeds that are impounded and 30 percent of the dogs that are euthanized.
The ordinance is set to go into effect in about a month – but only in unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
There are certain exemptions, including pit bulls owned by licensed breeders or law enforcement.
This story has been updated.