The city of Manteca, California, has passed a new law saying that if you own a pit bull breed you either have to get it fixed, qualify as a legitimate breeder of pit bulls or risk being charged with a crime or having the dog destroyed. According to a news article in the Manteca Bulletin, the law, which takes effect in October, was a reaction to a series of seven vicious dog attacks in Manteca. A majority of those dog attacks involved pit bull breeds.
California law prohibits local municipal ordinances from banning breeds of dogs. But it does allow breeds to be regulated including requiring them to be spayed and neutered. According to the newly passed law in Manteca, the first violation would result in the city impounding the pit bull and disposing of it in accordance with the municipal ordinance. The second offense is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in county jail for a period not to exceed six months and a fine of up to $1,000.
According to a report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for more than 70 percent of dog attack fatalities in the United States between the years 1979 and 1996. This report clearly shows that when it comes to dangerous dog breeds, pit bulls and rottweilers really do lead the pack. Breed bans are illegal in California and an extremely sensitive issue in this country.
But what the city of Manteca has done helps strike the middle ground in helping those who want to own pit bulls own the animals while taking responsibility for their ownership. Many cities and counties in California and elsewhere in the nation have also recently passed vicious dog laws, which impose a lot of limitations of dogs that have prior history of attacking other animals or human beings.
These laws are necessary not only to prevent dog attacks, but also to keep our neighborhoods safe and injury-free. But that said, remember that 4 million people in this country are injured by dog bites in the United States. Be wary of all dogs – not just pit bulls and rottweilers. If you know of a vicious or dangerous dog in your neighborhood report it to your local animal control agency.