Manteca, CA Pit bulls Under fire

Discuss Breed Specific Legislation and local county laws on pit bull ownership.
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Manteca, CA Pit bulls Under fire

Postby heather » Sat May 31, 2008 8:06 pm

Pit Bulls Under fire
Written by Sarah Ostman Friday, 30 May 2008
Manteca police mull breed-specific vicious dog laws

MANTECA — Responding to a rash of pit bull attacks a few months back, city officials are looking into ways to crack down on people who own allegedly vicious dogs. But some fear that laws under consideration could unfairly target pit bulls.

Interim Police Chief Dave Bricker said Thursday, May 29 that police are compiling a list of possible “vicious dog” laws to be weighed by the city attorney and councilmen this summer.
Most likely, Bricker said, the council will consider relatively minor tweaks to the city’s existing laws regarding all breeds of vicious dogs.

Presently, Bricker explained, the City of Manteca considers a dog vicious after it attacks a person or animal two times.

That means a dog that charges someone but does not actually bite him or her, or one that acts aggressively toward people walking past its property, would likely not qualify.

But the council could take a more extreme approach, Bricker said, even passing an ordinance that would forbid people from owning pit bulls within city limits.

Other possibilities could include requiring owners of certain breeds to purchase insurance — although enforcing such a law would be virtually impossible, Bricker said — or refusing to adopt out lost or stray pit bulls recovered at the city pound.

Unsurprisingly, these “breed-specific laws” draw criticism from people who say the rules unfairly target well-behaved dogs instead of punishing those with vicious tendencies.

“Why should a world-famous, life-saving American Pit Bull Terrier, and her owner, be punished for the irresponsible actions of somebody else who simply happens to own the same breed?” wrote Kris Crawford, president of the non-profit For Pit’s Sake, in an e-mail.
“Laws need to hold individuals accountable for their own actions.”

Plus, some say, several of the laws being presented by the Manteca Police Department may actually be against the law.

“Those laws sound highly suspect and probably illegal,” said Sharon Coleman, attorney for The Animal Council, a Millbrae-based organization for dog breeders and showers.

Cities may set their own laws regarding vicious dogs, according to a 2005 state law, as long as those laws do not discriminate against a certain breed.

In 2006, an exemption was added to that law that made it legal for cities to require certain breeds to be spayed or neutered.

The City of Ripon passed a law in 2006 that requires all pit bulls and mixes to be spayed or neutered unless they meet strict guidelines as breeding or show dogs. The law was passed after a pit bull mauled a cat, according to a Ripon city employee.

Animal Control workers for the cities of Stockton, Modesto and Lodi said this week that they have no laws specific to pit bulls.

But an employee of the Stockton Animal Shelter said pit bulls are only put up for adoption at that shelter in rare circumstances, when they prove to be extremely sociable. Others, if they go unclaimed by their owners, are taken in by rescue groups or euthanized.

For some who have experienced a pit bull attack, cracking down on the breed is a no-brainer.

Earlier this month, Shannon Uecker’s four children were attacked by two pit bulls as they walked to school on California Avenue. Her children took cover under a nearby car and beat the dogs off with a binder, she said, until two roofers jumped off a house nearby and beat the dog off them with hammers.

After that, Uecker said, she definitely supports a pit bull law.

“I definitely think something needs to be done,” said Uecker, 30. “If you’re going to get dogs that are vicious like that, and are known to be vicious like that, you have to take responsibility for your actions.”

Andy Fiskum, Staff Services Coordinator for Modesto Animal Services, said most pit bulls become aggressive because they don’t get enough interaction with their owners.

“They’re a really, really social dog,” Fiskum said. “They need attention from your family.
When you come across a lot of problems with pit bulls is when they’re thrown in the back yard and left there.”

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Postby heather » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:27 pm

Mayor & Council Weatherford, Willie 209-239-8417 Mayor
Mayor & Council Snyder, Jack 209-239-8417 Council Member
Mayor & Council Hernandez, Vince 209-239-8417 Council Member
Mayor & Council Harris, John 209-239-8417 Council Member
Mayor & Council DeBrum, Steve 209-239-8417 Council Member
Legislative/City Clerk Tilton, Joann 209-239-8417 City Clerk
Legislative/City Clerk Moore, Chris 209-825-2332 Deputy City Clerk
(Their individual emails can be found on this site…

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Postby dawnapbt » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:51 am

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Postby heather » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:52 pm

Second and final vote on this ordinance is Tuesday, September 2, 2008.

New law snips pits
Written by Ben Marrone Friday, 22 August 2008

MANTECA ― The city took aim at pit bulls this week with a new law that will force owners to spay or neuter these pets if they want to keep them in Manteca for more than 30 days.

In an effort to strengthen Manteca’s vicious dog laws, the City Council voted unanimously Monday, Aug. 18 to adopt a law that requires all pit bulls and pit bull mixes in the city to be sterilized before they’re eight weeks old.

The law makes exceptions for licensed breeders, but to qualify for a breeder’s permit, the owner must enter the pit bull in a dog show at least once every two years, among other conditions.

Councilmen offered support for the law and shared dog attack stories on Monday night.

Councilman John Harris described how a chow once “turned on my granddaughter’ s face,” while

Councilman Steve DeBrum said he witnessed a German shepherd attack a friend’s dog.

“Having been bitten by a dog a long time ago I’ve learned ― I don’t trust any dog,” said

Councilman Jack Snyder.

Mayor Willie Weatherford said the problem with the city’s current vicious dog laws is that they can only be used after an attack, while the new law could prevent such incidents.

“When you’ve spayed and neutered an animal … what you do is make them more friendly,” Weatherford explained.

Police Chief Dave Bricker said the council had asked police to come up with a stronger ordinance after a slew of pit bull attacks in 2007, one of which resulted in a “serious injury to a small child.”

While the city’s current vicious dog laws are already tougher than the state’s measures, Bricker told the council that Manteca could go even further with a spaying and neutering requirement.

State law prohibits cities from banning a certain breed of dog outright, but forcing one breed to be sterilized is OK.

The city has logged 22 dog attacks since January, according to police spokesman Rex Osborn, but he said it would be difficult to separate the attacks by breed.

No one at Monday’s meeting spoke against the sterilization requirement, but Manteca resident and self-described “animal lover” Deby Provost told the council that it should apply to all breeds.

“I’m a firm believer in spaying and neutering no matter what the breed,” Provost said, adding that a law that applied only to pit bulls was “kind of like racial profiling.”

Stockton passed a law in October that requires all dogs and cats in the city to be neutered or spayed, while Ripon has required pit bull sterilization since 2003.

Bricker said that animal control officers would enforce the law only as they come into contact with pit bulls, either on a call for service or at the dog’s annual licensing.

Anyone caught with an unaltered pit bull will be forced to pay $100 to have the pet spayed or neutered. A second violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or 6 months in prison.

Councilmen will have to vote for a second time to ratify the law at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2, and another 30 days must pass for the law to go into effect.

■ Comment on this story at www.sunpost. net, or to reach reporter Ben Marrone, call 239-6351.

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Postby heather » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:30 pm

The Manteca city council will be meeting on Tuesday, September 2, 2008. At that time, the council will take the second (and FINAL) vote on mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) of "all pit bulls and pit bull mixes" in the city limits.

If you have not already done so, please write to the Manteca officials to voice your polite and respectful opposition to this ordinance and to offer education and alternatives to breed specific legislation. With the extended Labor Day weekend coming up, perhaps the council members will take that opportunity to read over the information sent to them...

According to the city clerk, the ordinance was introduced on August 18, 2008, and no one spoke against it at the city council meeting. If you are in or around Manteca on Tuesday, September 2, please try to attend the meeting.


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Bless the Bullys

Crosspost from BSL Updates

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Postby heather » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:35 pm

If anyone has an update or attends the meeting.. let us know.

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Postby heather » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:50 pm

Manteca adopts policy to spay or neuter pit bull breeds

By The Record
September 03, 2008 4:59 PM

MANTECA — Pit bull owners have another month to have their dogs spayed or neutered before they face fines and possible jail time under a city ordinance that became official Tuesday night.

The law, similar to one in effect in Ripon since 2006, requires pit bull breeds to be altered by the time they are eight weeks old if their owner plans to keep the dog within the city limits more than 30 days.

Read Thursday’s Record for more on this story by staff writer Harley Becker. ... S/80903007

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Postby heather » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:33 pm

Mayor wants all dogs in Manteca fixed

Dennis Wyatt
Managing Editor

Pit bull related breeds first, other dogs later.

That's the stance Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford is taking on a City Council crackdown on vicious dogs.

Weatherford joined his colleagues Monday in voting to adopt the second reading of an ordinance that requires pit bull type dogs that aren't being used for breeding or as show animals to be neutered or spayed. The law goes into effect in 45 days.

The mayor on Wednesday repeated his comments made two days earlier before passing the measure that he favors the municipal staff returning within six months and expanding upon the ordinance to have spaying and neutering for all dogs as a mandatory requirement within the city limits.

Weatherford said the city needs to take steps to try and reduce the potential for vicious dog attacks across the board - and not just those involving pit bull related breeds. He added that the city also needs to make a concerted effort to reduce the unwanted animal population.

"We've got to do something to reduce the number of animals that we are forced to kill at the animal shelter," Weatherford said.

In Manteca alone last year, there were 339 dogs or almost one a day was put to sleep. The number for cats is even higher with 1,002 being euthanized.

With 3,522 animals each year that is brought to the shelter - almost 10 a day - there just isn't enough time and space to save more lives of dogs and cats.

State law requires shelters to keep dogs and cats for a minimum of four days. After that, the city is free to put them down. Dogs at the shelter have a 75 percent chance of making it out alive. Those are much better odds than for cats that have a 1 in 7 survival rate.

Three people spoke against the ordinance targeting pit bulls on Monday - two Sacramento area residents and a Manteca resident.

Thomas Bueno of Manteca argued that pit bills are a victim of irresponsible owners that intentionally twist their usually good temperament.

"Pit bulls are victims of gangs and youth who use the dogs for fighting and status," Bueno said.

To stress his point about pit bull style breeds as a whole, Bueno pointed out that only two of the 47 dogs seized in the Michael Vick dog fighting case had to be destroyed. The others were either adopted or were placed in rescue shelters for adoption.

The municipal ordinance requiring spaying and neutering of pit bull breeds mandatory in the City of Manteca with was prompted by several incidents in 2007 in which pit bull dogs bit citizens in Manteca resulting in severe injuries.

That led to an exhaustive eight-page ordinance that lays out how the city can demand the neutering and spaying of pit bulls that are within the city limits. It is similar to a measure adopted last year by Ripon.

Police Chief Dave Bricker has noted it is generally accepted that neutering and spaying tends to reduce the aggressiveness in animals lessening the likelihood that they will act out violently without provocation.

The language of the ordinance includes:

• Pit bull refers to any dog that is a Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or any other dog displaying the physical traits of any one or more of the previously mentioned breeds or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics that conform to specific standards established by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club for any o the listed breeds.

• Owners unsure whether their dog is a pit bull and requires neutering or spaying, can make an appointment with the Police Department for a staff member to make a determination. There is an appeal provision.

• The only reasons a person may have a pit bull that isn't fixed include the pit bull being under eight weeks of age, if there is a degree of suffering serious bodily harm or death due a physical abnormality based on a veterinarian certification who must also say when the operation can take place, the pit bull has been in the city less than 30 days, the owner has obtained or submitted an application for a breeding permit, the pit bull is a show dog but must include proper registration papers, or if the pit bull's status is under appeal.

• The first violation may result in the department impounding the pit bull and disposing of the pit bull in accordance with municipal ordinances or the owner may reclaim it by paying fees including the department's cost of having a veterinarian spay or neuter the dog. The owner will be required to make a $100 deposit and then cover the balance of the actual bill before reclaiming ownership.

• The second violation is a misdemeanor publishable by imprisonment county jail for a period not to exceed six months or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both. The second violation may result in impounding and destroying the pit bull.

• Breeding permit application fees are $100 and come with a list of stringent rules that must be followed. ... leID=59180

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Postby heather » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:35 pm

Order to fix pit bulls challenged in Manteca
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 09/04/2008 11:17:55 AM PDT

MANTECA, Calif.—A pit bull support group says Manteca's new law requiring owners to spay or neuter the breed does not comply with state law.

A spokesman for Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls, says the new ordinance describes "dangerous/vicious dogs," which makes the assumption that all dogs of that breed exhibit such behavior.

State law says ordinances cannot declare specific breeds vicious. The law does say, however, that ordinances can require that certain breeds be spayed or neutered.

The group says the wording will expose the city to lawsuits, but Mayor Willie Weatherford said Wednesday that the city attorney stands by the wording.

Under the new ordinance, pit bulls must be fixed before they're 8 weeks old.

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