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LA Rejects BSL, Pursuing Mandatory Spay/Neuter of ALL Dogs

(Thursday, February 23, 2006)
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted to delay a vote on changes to its animal control ordinance until April 25th. Although the board appears to have been persuaded that a breed-specific proposal is not in the best interests of the citizens, they have now directed staff to draft language requiring mandatory spay/neuter of ALL dogs!

It is possible that the stringent care criteria (which can be seen below) that would have applied to Rottweilers and "pit bulls" in the previous breed-specific ordinance may now be applied to ALL dogs. The council did hear testimony about the need for an exemption for residents who participate in conformation events, but it is unclear whether that provision will be included in the new proposal.

The American Kennel Club encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs if they do not want to participate in AKC conformation events or engage in responsible breeding programs. We further support programs dedicated to educating the pet buying public on how to find a responsible breeder and how to make well-informed decisions when obtaining a dog. Such programs help to ensure that pet purchasers find a puppy or dog that is a good fit for their lifestyle, at an appropriate time in their lives, thereby increasing the likelihood that the animal will stay with the owners its entire life.

These methods, coupled with strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws) and increased public education efforts are effective ways to address irresponsible dog owners while at the same time reducing shelter numbers and improving public safety. To the contrary, mandatory spay/neuter ordinances are extremely difficult to enforce, can be evaded by irresponsible animal owners, and punish responsible breeders who raise purebred dogs for their enjoyment of the sport. They also negatively impact owners who keep intact animals not to breed, but to participate in conformation and performance events.

Concerned dog owners are encouraged to contact their supervisor as well as Marcia Mayeda, the director of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control, as she will draft the revisions. For talking points on opposing mandatory spay/neuter please click here.

LA County Supervisors to Vote on BSL Ordinance
February 16, 2006

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote February 21st on a proposal to enact a $150 unaltered animal license for "restricted breeds." Restricted breeds are Rottweilers and "pit bulls," defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Stafforshire Bull Terriers or any dog that exhibits the physical characteristics of these breeds. Breed determination will be made by Animal Care and Control staff using a "breed determination checklist." It is critical that fanciers and concerned dog owners attend this hearing, as officials have recommended that the board waive its traditional three-readings procedure and immediately adopt the ordinance!

The proposed measure includes an unaltered license provision for owners of "restricted breeds." To qualify, an owner must:
  • Prove that the dog is registered with AKC, UKC or valid registry
  • Comply with mandated health screenings
  • Allow an inspection by Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control
  • Obtain an AKC Canine Good Citizenship certificate or pass an American Temperament Testing Society test
  • Microchip the dog and provide the number to the county
Further, the ordinance states that the county will determine whether a dog's lineage, age, temperament and health make it a suitable candidate for an unaltered license. The license may be revoked if the county receives one complaint, if the owner is cited for any violation of the animal control ordinance, or the dog is found to be dangerous. There is no process for appeal. The county currently requires that breeders purchase a $175 license to breed and limits breeders to one litter per year.

Other provisions include the following:
  • Prohibits the breeding of any "restricted dog" less than two years of age
  • Requires breeders of "restricted dogs" to report all litters and provide the names and addresses of puppy purchasers
  • Further requires breeders to microchip all "restricted" puppies and provide the microchip numbers to the county
Animal Care and Control recommends spending $668,077, including adding 6 new staff members, to enforce the ordinance. This estimate appears to be based on pursuing the owners of already licensed but unaltered Rottweilers and "pit bulls" and having those owners purchase the new license. No funds appear to have been allocated toward pursuing animals at large, animals about which the department has received complaints or unlicensed animals.

This proposed ordinance will unfairly punish responsible owners who are already complying with local animal control laws, while irresponsible owners continue to make problems for the community and local shelters. Concentrating their efforts on the dogs whose behavior demonstrates that they are a problem for the community would be a much better use of taxpayer funds.

What You Can Do:
  • Attend the Board of Supervisors Meeting February 21st at 1pm.
    383 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
    500 W. Temple Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    The ordinance is agenda item #65
  • Contact the County Board of Supervisors to express your opposition. Find out who represent you on the Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Gloria Molina (District 1)
856 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-4111
Fax: (213) 613-1739
Email: Molina@bos.co.la.ca.us

Supervisor Yvonne Burke (District 2)
866 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-2222
Fax: (213) 680-3283
Email: seconddistrict@lacbos.org

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (District 3)
821 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-3333
Fax: (213) 625-7360
E-mail zev@lacbos.org

Supervisor Don Knabe (District 4)
822 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration,
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-4444
Fax: (213) 626-6941
Email: jdoe@lacbos.org

Mayor Michael D. Antonovich (District 5)
869 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-5555
Fax: (213) 974-1010 fax
Email: fifthdistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us

For more information please contact

California Federation of Dog Clubs
Susan Gioia, President
800-949-3746, ext. 106
760-471-5277 (fax)
shojudge@yahoo.com

Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs
Joan Gibson-Reed, Legislative Coordinator
Jgcorgis@aol.com

AKC Canine Legislation Department
(919) 816-3720
doglaw@akc.org