Tag Archives: Pasadena

What happened in Pasadena CA and what comes next

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:

bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net, jacquerobinson@cityofpasadena.net, mmcaustin@cityofpasadena.net, johnjkennedy@cityofpasadena.net, gmasuda@cityofpasadena.net, vgordo@cityofpasadena.net, smadison@cityofpasadena.net, ttornek@cityofpasadena.net, mbeck@cityofpasadena.net, jgutierrez@cityofpasadena.net, smermell@cityofpasadena.net, mbagneris@cityofpasadena.net, cityclerk@cityofpasadena.net, sfoster@cityofpasadena.net, ewalsh@cityofpasadena.net

Thank you to Josh Liddy, from SwayLove.org, for your continued hard work on this issue.

Pasadena CA to draft breed discriminatory law

Pasadena officials have been discussing the possibility of a mandatory spay/neuter law for some time now.  In October of this year officials said that they had tabled the discussion for six months.

Initially people were concerned that the proposal, which was breed neutral at the time, was an attempt to target the owners of dogs resembling pit bull terriers.

After supposedly postponing the conversation, officials jumped the gun on the time line given for the discussion and unveiled their intentions by voting at the end of November, 6-1, to draft a breed discriminatory spay/neuter law targeting pit bull terrier like dogs.

The proposal will require that those who own a targeted dog have them altered by the age of four months.  This mirrors the recently passed Riverside County ordinance.

People who are opposed to breed discriminatory laws often let spay/neuter laws slide by without opposition because people altering their dogs is a good thing for many reasons.  Some of the reasons cited by officials for wanting this law are to reduce over population, and aggression in dogs.  These are good things for officials to want to achieve.

They would be good things for officials to want to achieve, if that really was their intent.

The real intention is very clear.  They are not considering this because of population issues in shelters.  They are not considering this to curb backyard breeders.  They are drafting this law because they do not have the option to institute a ban.  Since 2008 officials have been discussing banning pit bull terrier like dogs, but are unable to do so because California state law prohibits it.  Councilman Steve Madison has said repeatedly that he would support an outright ban on pit bulls in Pasadena.  In fact, we reported on this in 2012.

The following are exact quotes from Mr. Madison about the issue:

“…inexplicably, state law prohibits municipalities from adopting breed-specific legislation. So the spay and neuter ordinance is a tepid response to an urgent problem… At present, it’s all we can do, supposedly. We should change this state law and then immediately ban pit bulls from Pasadena...

““I would have no problem saying ‘Pasadena’s a special place: If you want to live here, come, but don’t bring your pit bull.’

“I don’t think (this ordinance) is as effective as what I had hoped, which was a ban, but I think we have to do what we can.

“There’s no sound policy reason why a community like Pasadena shouldn’t be allowed to ban such dangerous animals,”

There is absolutely no ambiguity about the intent of this proposal when you see what they have to say first hand.

Please write or call the members of the council to respectfully and factually oppose this ordinance.  When writing it is of the utmost importance to stay calm and focused.  The facts are on the side of breed neutral laws and need no emotional embellishment. Jacque Robinson was the only opposing vote, so a note of thanks for her opposition would also be a very nice gesture.  Additional district information can be found on the cities website.

Mayor Bill Bogaard: bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net 626-744-4311
Jacque Robinson, District 1:  district1@cityofpasadena.net 626-744-4444
Margaret McAustin, District 2:  district2@cityofpasadena.net 626-744-4742
John Kennedy, District 3:  district3@cityofpasadena.net, 626-744-4738
Gene Masuda, District 4:  district4@cityofpasadena.net
Victor Gordo, District 5: district5@cityofpasadena.net,  626-744-4741, 626-831-8609
Steve Madison, District 6: smadison@cityofpasadena.net, 626-744-4739
Terry Tornek, District 7: ttornek@cityofpasadena.net, 626-441-4802

Pasadena, CA – Councilman Wants Ban on Pit Bulls

According to the Pasadena Sun, Steve Madison, City Councilman for Pasadena believes a ban on pit bulls should be considered within city limits because he says the ‘powerful and sometimes aggressive dogs pose an inherent threat to public safety.

Steve McNall, President of the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA says that such a law would unfairly punish responsible pit bull owners.

“It’s a discrimination issue, to take somebody’s personal property, a family member, and kill it?  The last time I checked, this is the United States, not Russia.”  McNall said Council would not receive his or any other animal welfare leader’s support.  The Humane Society provides the city with animal control services by contract.

The push for stronger “bully-breed” regulations started five years ago when Councilwoman Margaret McAustin, representing a neighborhood where a ‘group’ of pit bulls roaming at-large bit several people, said she would support stronger laws for Pasadena.

Under the current law, animal control officers can impound dogs that attack people or display other aggressive tendencies.  Officer can also fine owners that do not license their dogs.

McAustin said, “We shouldn’t let up on our efforts to control dangerous breeds, but dogs are trained to be aggressive by people who want aggressive dogs.  We have to get at that behavior, the problem we really have is irresponsible owners and if we can’t regulate the dogs, we have to regulate the owners.”

Due to California state law prohibiting cities from banning any specific breed however, the likelihood of a ban is nil.  Instead, officials are considering that any Pasadena pit bulls be subject to mandatory spay and neutering, an ordinance structured on the current San Francisco law.  You can read more about San Francisco’s breed ID check-list in our previous “Difficulty of Breed Identification Article”.

Please send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE correspondence to:
Mayor Bill Bogaard - bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net
Councilwoman Jacque Robinson, 1st District via Field Representative, Tina Williams - district1@cityofpasadena.net
Ph:  (626) 744-4444
Fax: (626) 396-7300
Councilwoman/Vice Mayor Margaret McAustin, 2nd District - mmcaustin@cityofpasadena.net
Ph:  (626) 744-4742
Councilman Chris Holden, 3rd District via Field Representative Jacueline McIntyre - (626) 744-4742
Ph: (626) 744-4738
Fax:  (626) 744-4774
Councilman Gene Masauda, 4th District via Field Representative, Noreen Sullivan - nsullivan@cityofpasadena.net
Ph:  (626) 744-4740
Councilman Victor M. Gordo, Esq, 5th District via Field Representative, Vannia DeLaCuba - vdelacuba@cityofpasadena.net
Ph:  (626) 744-4741 or (626) 831-8609
Fax:  (626) 398-1836
Councilman Steve Madison, 6th District - smadison@cityofpasadena.net
Ph:  (626) 744-4739
Councilman Terry Tornek, 7th District - ttornek@cityofpasadena.net
Ph:  (626) 441-4802
Fax:  (626) 441-4806

You may also include correspondence to City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris by visiting the Pasadena City Attorney’s page and City Manager Michael J. Beck at the City Managers page.