Riverside County officials passed a forced sterilization ordinance for pit bulls on Tuesday. Licensed breeders and police dogs will be exempt from the new law. Tony Shin reports from Boyle Heights for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2013.
A divisive proposal calling for the sterilization of all pit bulls in Riverside County was unanimously approved Tuesday.
The plan passed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors will require owners to spay and neuter pit bulls older than 4 months in an effort to curb attacks and cut down on unwanted animals.
The decision comes after multiple recent attacks by pit bulls in Riverside County.
In September, a 2-year-old boy was mauled to death in Colton, and a 91-year-old woman died after being attacked in February.
Another woman was attacked by two pit bulls while walking her own dog in Riverside in August, but she survived.
Some pit bull owners say the breed has been unfairly targeted, but county officials say the breed accounts for a disproportionately high number of unwanted dogs in the region. About 3,000 pit bulls and pit-bull mixes are put down each year in Riverside County.
"I feel sorry for these anmals that we have to kill every year where don't adopt them because they fear these dogs," said Jeff Stone, Riverside County Supervisor.
The plan requires owners to sterilize either full breed or mix breed Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, and American Stafford terriers. Exemptions were planned for registered breeders, law enforcement and assistance dogs.
The ordinance applies only to dogs living in unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
Pit bull owners who violate the law could face misdemeanor charges.
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