Officials in the California city of Lancaster have adopted an ordinance that requires, among other things, all pit bulls, rottweilers and pit and rottie mixes to be spayed or neutered (read the L.A. Times article here).
This is breed-specific legislation, to be sure, but is it perhaps not a bad idea?
Now, I know a lot of our readers are, like me, pit bull parents and defenders of these wonderful and misunderstood dogs. We are horrified by the idea that we could one day have our beloved pets seized from our homes, as has happened in American cities in the recent past.
But that’s not what this law is about. It’s about spaying and neutering
these dogs who are euthanized by the thousand because shelters are
overflowing with them and too few people are willing to adopt them.
(This law is arguably also about racial profiling, but let’s just stick
to the animal welfare implications here.)
I love pit bulls, I have pit bulls, I volunteer with pit bulls — but they’re hardly an endangered species, and their overpopulation causes untold suffering for these dogs that are so uniquely dependent on human companionship. (Rottweilers suffer as well, and I see lots of them as a volunteer at Animal Care & Control of NYC.)
So my question is
this: Yes, it is breed-specific legislation, but is it really, in this
particular instance, such a bad thing? Could it in fact prevent the
loneliness, suffering, abandonment and senseless deaths of countless
pits and rotties? I’m sure many people will say that the irresponsible owners who feel the need to bolster their image with an intact dog will simply turn to a different breed, and that is probably true.
Anyway, I am curious to know what our readers think (and I am preparing to get flamed!).