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UPDATE! Berkeley Considers Breed-Specific Mandatory Spay/Neuter Proposal

(Thursday, May 04, 2006)

The Berkeley Citizens Humane Commission will meet again on Wednesday, May 17th to discuss a proposal to require mandatory spay/neuter of all β€œpit bulls.” It is vital that responsible dog owners and concerned breeders attend this meeting. Fanciers are also encouraged to contact their representative on the Berkeley City Council to oppose this measure. The meeting will be held from 7-10pm at the North Berkeley Senior Center located at 1901 Hearst Avenue.

[Friday, March 31, 2006]

On April 19th the Berkeley Citizens Humane Commission will review a draft of an ordinance to require "pit bull" owners in the city to spay or neuter their dogs unless they obtain a $100 breeding permit and comply with a host of regulations. The ordinance defines "pit bulls" as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any dog displaying the physical traits of these breeds. Fines of up to $500 for a first offense, and up to $1000 on a second offense can be assessed for violations. A second offense can also result in up to six months in county jail. AKC is working with concerned dog owners and fanciers to oppose this proposal.

Exemptions are provided in the following circumstances:

  • Puppies under eight weeks of age.
  • A veterinarian certifies that spay/neutering the dog would cause serious bodily harm or death.
  • A "pit bull" is kept in the city for less than 30 days.
  • The owner, guardian or keeper has obtained a breeding permit.
  • The dog qualifies as a "show dog" by virtue of registration papers and participation in a dog show in the last 12 months.

It is unclear in the current draft whether owner's whose dogs qualify for an exemption, but who are not being bred would need to obtain a breeding permit.

As drafted, only "pit bulls" that are pure bred and that are actively being shown are eligible for breeding permits. To obtain this permit, residents must comply with a host of additional regulations including;

  • Pay a $100 non-refundable application fee – if more than one person is involved in the breeding, each person must apply for and be granted a permit.
  • Allow the Berkeley Animal Control Department to conduct a home inspection and determine if there is a suitable space to breed and raise puppies.
  • The animal control department staff must evaluate the suitability of the dog to be bred, including consideration of their age, health and lineage.
  • Pass health screenings including Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program, OFA cardiac certification and pass the American Temperament Society temperament test.
  • Females are limited to 1 litter per year.

Breeders who sell "pit bull" puppies must list their breeding permit number in any advertisement and are required to report the names, addresses and phone number of the new owners to the animal control department. If the puppies do not have acceptable registration papers, they must be spayed or neutered prior to sale. A breeder permit can be revoked for any violation of the Berkeley Municipal Code, meaning that it could be revoked for a parking ticket or other minor infraction not related to animal control.

Furthermore, a provision included in the breeding permit section specifies that "No puppies of any breeds shall be offered for sale, adoption or trade, or given away in a public place, except by animal care service mobile adoption or non profit humane welfare organizations." It is unclear whether this provision implies a total ban on breeding.

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the Citizens Humane Commission Meeting May 17th from 7pm-10pm.

North Berkeley Senior Center
1901 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

  • Write a letter to the Citizens Humane Commission.

c/o Katherine O'Connor
City Manager's Office
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94704

  • Contact the members of the Berkeley City Council to express your opposition.

Mayor Tom Bates
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 981-7100
Email: mayor@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Linda Maio (District 1)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7110
FAX: (510) 981-7111
Email: lmaio@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Darryl Moore (District 2)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7120
Email: dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Maxwell Anderson (District 3)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7130
Email: manderson@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Dona Spring (District 4)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7140
Email: spring@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Laurie Capitelli (District 5)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7150
Email: lcapitelli@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Betty Olds (District 6)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7160
Email: olds@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Kriss Worthington (District 7)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7170
Email: worthington@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak (District 8)
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Phone: (510) 981-7180
Email: GWozniak@ci.berkeley.ca.us

For more information please contact:

AKC's Canine Legislation department
919-816-3720
doglaw@akc.org