Sonoma to Consider Pit Bull Legislation

Reports of a Pit Bull ban still premature, says Sanders

After a week of phone calls and emails, Sonoma Mayor Pro Tem Joanne Sanders .

After harrowing , exploration of tightening vicious dog legislation is a definite, she says; a Pit Bull "ban" is not.

"I have requested an agenda item with information about what regulations we have in place for vicious dogs and what our options are for further regulating them based on what other cities and counties are doing and what the law permits for municipalities," explained Sanders in an e-mail.

Stating the councilwoman supported a ban was premature said Sanders in a follow-up to a piece printed by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

Sanders says that her critics misinterpreted her personal opinion about banning pit bulls to mean that she would be advocating that position for the city, and that all along, she simply wanted her fellow council members to consider “options” for regulating vicious dogs.

Sanders futher flushed out her opinion as a member of a 'Pit Bull panel' on KQED's 'Forum' appearance. 

Though Sonoma currently has 31 registered Pit Bulls within city limits, public officials could not recall a single case of a Pit Bull attack, according to the Sonoma Index Tribune.

Still, Sonoma's current "dangerous and vicious dog" ordinance is  "ambiguous," reported the I-T, and is only used, in practice, after a dog has already attacked. 

Once a bite occurs a jurisdictional nightmare begins:

Dog bites are investigated by Sonoma County Animal Control, and in the county's jurisdiction the determination in a dog attack case must be made by a court and can be appealed. The city's enforcement process is somewhat less clear, but if a dog is determined to be dangerous, the owner can be required to keep it behind a six-foot fence, carry a liability policy and keep it muzzled when outside on a leash.

The California Food and Agriculture Code prohibits bans on animal breeds, but the state's Health and Safety Code allows jurisdictions to impose mandatory spay and neuter policies for the purpose of population control. Sonoma County has such a policy, although indications are it is not strictly enforced.

dogcentric August 26, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Breed specific legislation requiring microchipping of all pit bulls and pit bull mixes and spay/neuter of all pit bulls and pit bull mixes except AKC and UKC-PR registered show dogs is not only great for communities (and gives and easy and cheap way to put all dog fighters and suspectied dog fighters out of business immediately and permanently) but it is great for pit bulls. It is a win for eveyrbody.
Elizabeth MacDonald August 27, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Really? This legislation would NOT work because responsible owners would comply, the dregs of society who use these beautiful dogs for sport would go deeper underground. You can't legislate responsibility, but you can get out information to stop knee jerk reaction from the ignorant. AND...please quit putting spike collars on your pits, YOU are creating and propagating the myth that these dogs are bad-asses. You chose this dog, please respect it as a living and breathing animal who asks nothing but kindness and will return it twofold.
Clay Hund August 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM
So, what about all of the dogs that are bred by puppy mills and backyard breeders, that still achieve the AKC and UKC-PR status you are requesting? Your intentions are good, but legislating it is impossible. Besides, to single out pit bulls would be unfair and discriminate, as law abiding citizens would abide by it, but criminals would not. And what about dogs that look like pit bulls, which by far, are responsible for most attacks? They are called pit bulls too, although they really aren't pit bulls. By making these types of dogs restricted, it just adds more negative stigma to pit bulls, in which they would be more desirable to the very people we do not want to have them. The people that break the laws now have more of a reason to have them, and underground breeding for aggression becomes even more of an issue. Making these dogs look mean and evil is the very reason why there are so many of them in the first place, as every breed that has ever been vilifying always becomes extremely popular. Besides that, many places that have enacted BSL have already proven that it is a waste of money, and doesn't work. Good luck with your proposal, but as many of us good citizens and responsible owners have realized it's not the dog that is a problem, but rather bad owners, new laws aren't going to have the effect that you want. ALL responsible owners of any breed fix their pets anyway. Stop glorifying the pit bull, and focus on the real issues.
Meaghan Edwards August 31, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Calgary's Animal Control model is the way to go. Far more effective than ANYTHING BSL. http://www.defendingdog.com/id38.html http://www.stopk9profiling.com/calgary.php http://saveourdogs.net/2009/04/03/“the-best-animal-control-program-in-north-america”/
Roxanne August 31, 2011 at 06:06 PM
I am a very proud pitbull owner and the fact that any county or city that would or wants to ban this breed is not fair. I would hide my dog before putting her down and I say that in confidence because I know my pitbull would NEVER attack me or anyone. My pitbull is an inside dog and who's best friend is a cat. Just like any animal, the way they behave is entirely based on how you raise them and teach them. I love my pitbull and would never trade her for anything. I guess its a good think I'm no longer a Sonoma resident, but I do still bring her to Sonoma. The above comment is entirely true, show this dog love and it will return the same to you. Have you ever seen a dog truly smile? Look at a pitbull.


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