The department is conducting a series of spay-neuter clinics for pit bulls and pit bull mixes in an effort to reduce the number of the breed that end up in shelters, according to John Welsh of Animal Services.
In 2008, 20 percent -- nearly 4,000 -- of the dogs the county impounded in Riverside County were pit bulls or pit bull mixes, which are traditionally difficult to place in new homes, and 73 percent of them had to be euthanized, according to Walsh.
A $10,000 grant from the Petco Foundation is funding the "Pit Bull Project," he said.
Animal Services is asking owners to pay $34 to get their dogs licensed, microchipped and vaccinated, but the spay and neuter service is free.
If a pit bull owner is unable to pay the $34 fee, however, officials are willing to negotiate.
"If they're trying to alter their dog and not contribute to the ongoing population problem, we're willing to work with people," Welsh said.
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Pit bull owners interested in taking part of the program should call Animal Services at (951) 358-7387 or (951) 358-7135 to make an appointment.