Los Angeles News

Littlerock pit bull attack raises legislation questions

Friday, May 10, 2013

The fatal mauling of a woman in the High Desert community of Littlerock is just one of several recent pit bull attacks raising concern about the breed and whether stricter regulations should be in place.

According to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich's Office, the Littlerock attack is the first fatal pit bull attack in the county's history. There have been other deaths in recent years in the Inland Empire, and in April, a jogger was injured in an attack in Palmdale.

After two high profile attacks in Denver, the city banned the breed in 1989. Since then, thousands of dogs have been seized and euthanized.

California law prohibits a ban on breeds, but Antonovich says he is working on tougher restrictions and an ordinance to crack down on bad owners.

"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," said Tony Bell, spokesman for Antonovich. "Pit bulls are a different breed of animal. They're capable of incredible damage to humans, to other dogs, to horses."

The director of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control says many pit bulls are abandoned by their owners.

"People just stop, open up their car door and abandon an animal in the desert. Of course, that's a crime, and we would love to be able to catch anybody who did that, so they could be prosecuted," said Marcia Mayeda.

On the heels of the deadly attack in Littlerock, people have different views about whether pit bulls are a dangerous breed or the product of irresponsible owners.

Cindy Ross runs a pit bull rescue out of her home. She says they are gentle dogs, if treated well.

"It's not the pit bulls that are dangerous, it's the people," she said. "Look at what they do to pit bulls, they fight them, they stab them, they set them on fire, they drag them behind cars, they are the most severely abused breed out there."

Although she blames pit bull attacks on their owners, she supports a ban on breeding the dogs.

"There's no reason to bring anymore pits onto the planet right now. I think we should have an ordinance where you grandfather the ones that are already alive and allow people to keep their pets," she said.

Tranquilina Montez of Palmdale feels people should not be allowed to have the dogs.

"If they're dangerous that way and there's a lot of incidents happening like that, then most people shouldn't even really have those types of dogs. They're dangerous," she said.

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