Riverside City is seeking to change their current spay/neuter laws in the wake of the recently passed breed discriminatory spay/neuter law passed by Riverside County officials.
The Riverside County law only applies to unincorporated areas of the county, so it becomes the job of the incorporated areas of the county to decide if they will enact similar legislation.
Oddly, Riverside City already has a mandatory spay/neuter law that applies to all dogs, with some exemptions. Officials have said that this law is enforced only when an animal is picked up for another violation, or if there is some kind of complaint.
The changes being sought would have city officials actively targeting dogs they think are pit bulls for enforcement.
It is expected that the change will mirror the Riverside County law, which requires that all dogs who are deemed to be a targeted type be altered by the young age of four months.
There has been no discussion by either the Riverside County officials or Riverside city officials about the implications for the health and welfare of the dogs that are being forced to undergo a pediatric procedure that is extremely controversial in the veterinary community.
The changes would target “Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Stafford Terriers and mixes in which those breeds can be easily identified. It would include exceptions for registered breeders, dogs with health issues that prevent sterilization and law enforcement dogs.” (read more)
Riverside City already has a spay/neuter law, so what is the motivation for targeting one type of dog for special enforcement and attention? The language used by officials make their intentions very clear.
Increasing the conversations being had by officials in California is troublesome. Officials in Pasadena were questioning the existence of the state law that prohibits all breed based laws with the exception of mandatory spay/neuter, saying their hands were “tied” and that was all they were able to do about their “pit bull problem.” Riverside County officials started the conversation with promises to overturn the state law but, after the backlash, went for the more palatable spay/neuter. Now there is Riverside City, who, if they change the current law, will be actively going after people whose dogs look a certain way, while not bothering to enforce the spay/neuter law that is in place for all other dogs unless they are caught.
There is something decidedly wrong with this pattern.
Breed discrimination is breed discrimination. The laws are not designed to protect the dogs, they are not designed to keep the community safe. They are there to target a group of dogs that officials feel need special monitoring and regulation based on nothing more than a gut feeling.
The issue is set for discussion on October 22nd meeting of the Riverside City Council meeting, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., City Hall, 3900 Main St., Riverside.
Residents can find their City Council representatives on the cities website.