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L.A. County Supervisor Wants Breed Bans in California

Anti-BSL rally in Los AngelesBreed bans are currently against the law in California, but after the death last week of a woman who was attacked by Pit Bulls, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich wants the state to start enforcing them.

“We’re going to go back to the state legislature and see if we can change that law, allow the local communities to make up their own minds with regards to breeds,” Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich, told KABC-TV News. “Pit Bulls are a different breed of animal. They’re capable of incredible damage to humans, to other dogs, to horses.”

The Littlerock, Calif., incident was the first fatal Pit Bull attack in the history of Los Angeles County. Pamela Marie Devitt, 63, was out for a walk when she was mauled by four dogs. She died on the way to the hospital. Detectives later seized eight dogs, including six Pit Bulls, at the home of Alex Jackson, their owner.

According to NBC 4 Los Angeles, Jackson had received previous citations “for failing to vaccinate, license, spay, neuter or microchip his dogs.” Neighbors told KTLA that Jackson’s dogs had behaved aggressively in the past, and would often jump over his fence and roam the neighborhood.

Jackson was arrested last week on charges of cultivating marijuana. He is considered a “person of interest” in the case and could face additional charges if DNA tests show that his dogs attacked Devitt.

Ben Devitt, the victim’s husband of more than 40 years, told two local news sources that he doesn’t blame the dogs.

“I have no animosity toward Pit Bulls and my wife had no animosity – we realize it’s people that are responsible for their animals,” he told KABC-TV News.

Devitt told NBC 4, “You get caught up in somebody else’s irresponsibility and these kinds of tragic, devastating things happen. We read about it, we hear about it and now we’re part of it. It’s just hard.”

Antonovich, on the other hand, blames the breed, which his spokesman referred to as “killing machines.”

At a meeting of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, members were asked to consider Antonovich’s proposal to change the definition of what constitutes a “potentially dangerous dog.” The board will discuss the proposal further at a meeting next month.

Breed-specific legislation (BSL), which includes breed bans, has not proven to increase public safety anywhere it has been enforced. Because of this fact, the trend in the U.S. has been to repeal these laws, not to enforce them. Last year, Massachusetts and Ohio removed breed-specific language from its dangerous dogs laws. Connecticut is currently considering prohibiting BSL.

Pet parents of Pit Bulls in Los Angeles County – and many dog lovers in general – are appalled by Antonovich’s proposition. A Change.org petition urging Antonovich not to waste time trying to pass BSL currently has nearly 6,000 signatures.

A peaceful rally to protest BSL will be held outside Antonovich’s office at 500 W. Temple St. in Downtown L.A. on May 20 beginning at 9:40 a.m.

“BSL in LA? What is Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich thinking?” wrote Shorty Rossi, star of “Pit Boss” on Animal Planet, on his Facebook page. He will attend the rally with Hercules, his Pit Bull service dog.

Here’s what you can do to oppose BSL in California:

  • Sign the Change.org petition.
  • Send an email to Antonovich.
  • Send a letter to Antonovich at 500 West Temple Street, Room 869, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
  • Leave a message on Antonovich’s Facebook page.
  • Attend the rally on May 20.

PHOTO: Facebook

Laura Goldman

Laura Goldman is senior social media writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. She does love dogs. And elephants and turtles. Along with writing about the loves of her life, Laura likes to play with her two pound pups and tell anyone who'll listen just how awesome Pit Bulls are.

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May 17, 2013 By : Category : DOG NEWS Tags:
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2 Comments Print

The Dog Park   

2 comments
suemagic
suemagic

good article... here is Antonovich's response to my emails:

 

Thank you for your correspondence regarding vicious dogs and the recent fatal mauling of a 63-year old resident in Littlerock. 

 

While there is currently no effort to change State legislation to ban or restrict any particular breed, Los Angeles County is dedicated to protecting the public from the threat of vicious dogs.  At my direction, the Department of Animal Care and Control will provide the Board of Supervisors with a comprehensive package of recommendations to enhance our efforts to protect the public.

 

We will work to expand our County’s mandatory spay/neuter ordinance and support vigorous prosecution and severe penalties, fines and jail time for negligent and irresponsible owners who allow their animals to breed, fight, roam and attack people, horses and other animals. 

 

We will also continue working with the community, our town councils and cities to address this threat to public safety and prevent future attacks. 

 

To report animal-related public safety concerns, residents are asked to contact the County’s 24-hour call center at (562) 940-6890.

 

Thank you.

 

Office of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich

Fifth District, County of Los Angeles

500 West Temple Street, #869

Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

MrDuck
MrDuck

 @suemagic We all got the same generic form letter. Despite specific questions and despite Antonovich introducing a staunchly anti-pit bull person as an "expert" on the breed at a Board of Supervisors meeting after he started sending out these form letters.