For some time Pasadena has been discussing mandatory spay/neuter.
A proposal that applied to all dogs was being discussed but was tabled for study after some opposition. Before the breed neutral proposal could be brought forward, one particular councilman, Steve Madison, put forth a spay/neuter proposal that would target dogs deemed to be “pit bulls.”
The rhetoric from Mr. Madison went far beyond spay/neuter into discussion of seeking a ban and there has been a lot of talk about the mayor approaching state legislators to see if anyone would take up the issue of changing the state law that prohibits breed discriminatory bans and restrictions.
In the time leading up to the Pasadena city council meeting in which the breed discriminatory law was to be discussed, it had appeared that the proposal would pass comfortably. Much of the council was unresponsive to inquires on their position and those who were vocal were extremely vocal in support of the proposal. There were a few on the council that had come out to say that they were not in support of the proposal before the meeting but they were in the minority. Riverside County and Riverside Cities ordinances, which the Pasadena ordinance is copied from, passed with the bare minimum of opposition.
Previous meetings in Pasadena were poorly attended and there was concern that the meeting with the vote would be similarly attended.
The meeting in which the Pasadena city council heard a proposal which would target dogs deemed to be pit bulls for mandatory pediatric spay/neuter was an extremely well attended meeting.
55 people spoke and according to attendees there were at least an additional 50 people present who chose to not speak but were there to show support.
Not one person who spoke did so in favor of the ordinance.
Speakers included a public safety statistician, health care professionals, members of the animal welfare community who work in shelters and rescues both in the community as well as the surrounding areas, home owners and various professionals and business owners in the community, teachers, law enforcement, military, owners of “pit bulls” and non-pit bull owners a like.
Topics included the failures of such policies to reduce kill rates, failure to increase public safety, the difficulty of enforcement and among the other failings of breed discriminatory laws in all their forms.
Some of the speakers were emotional, which is understandable considering the emotional nature of the situation, however the majority presented solid factual points to oppose the proposal. During the speaking portion of the meeting, some officials were open and receptive. More stepped up in order to openly oppose the proposal. Mr. Madison, however, did not look at any of the speakers, and at the end when he commented, it became clear that he had not listened to any of the speakers, or had reviewed any of the ample information provided to the council before hand.
Right away, a motion was made to table the proposal and revisit it in July. The idea was that they wanted everyone to be heard and didn’t think there would be enough time in order to do so that night, or that there were some that wanted to attend but were unable to do so, such as representatives from the local humane society. The meeting went forward anyway.
After the lengthy public comment, the motion was revisited to table the proposal. The motion passed with a vote of 4-3. The proposal will be heard on Monday, July 14th. At that point the proposal will be revisited, along with the breed neutral mandatory spay/neuter proposal.
The author of the proposal has since been very vocal in the press about the need for this ordinance, speaking out every chance he had saying the council had made a mistake in tabling the issue until July. Every chance he has, he has been repeating the logical fallacies that are often used to justify breed discriminatory laws.
It has become abundantly clear that, though the rest of the council was open to the information and time spent by the business owners and residents of he community, Mr. Madison will be continuing to push forward with the breed discriminatory proposal. He has openly stated in new media reports that “pit bulls” need to be regulated. Madison has also stated that he would keep introducing the proposal until it is passed.
Had the vote been taken at the meeting, the proposal would have failed. The majority of the council members opposed the breed discriminatory proposal.
This issue is not finished yet, and those in the area should plan on attending the meeting in July. An event organized by SwayLove.org can be found here, for people to coordinate their attendance.
All factual, respectful correspondence from Pasadena residents can be directed to the council:
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Thank you to Josh Liddy, from SwayLove.org, for your continued hard work on this issue.