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Denver pitbull ban and California dog legislation
by karen dawn
Monday Aug 8th, 2005 10:02 AM
DawnWatch: Los Angeles Times front page on Denver pitbull ban and California dog legislation 8/2/05
The front page of the Tuesday, August 2, Los Angeles Times has a heartbreaking story about people having to either adopt out family members or leave their homes thanks to Denver's overreaching pitbull ban. It is headed, "Denver's Dogged Outlaws; The city has banned pit bulls. Owners hide them, move away or turn to an 'underground railroad' to keep them from being put to death."

After some heartbreaking stories, including one about a man now living in a car so that he can keep his dogs, we learn that "Denver is not alone in banning the breed -- cities including Cincinnati, Miami and Lanett, Ala., have outlawed pit bulls." But then we get welcome news about California:
"California cities cannot ban specific breeds of dogs, but a bill in the state Legislature would permit them to require certain breeds be spayed and neutered, making them less aggressive."

As California kills hundreds of thousand of dogs every year in shelters, most true animal advocates would be thrilled to see compulsory spay/neuter of all breeds as long as there are any dogs dying for lack of homes. Why not start with those breeds deemed dangerous, that tend to attract those who enjoy organizing dog fights for sport? I write that as the adoptive mother of a sweet little red-nose pitbull, who is, of course, spayed. But thousands of her relatives die every year in California shelters and countless others die in organized dog fights. A ban on breeding them would be wonderful. And it is no doubt the compromise needed that will prevent a misguided over-reaching law like that in Denver, which takes loving dogs out of loving homes.

The bill is SB 861, authored by Senator Jackie Speier, a democrat from the San Francisco/San Mateo area. It states, "Cities and counties may enact dog breed-specific ordinances pertaining only to mandatory spay or neuter programs and breeding requirements." You can read it on line at:

The California Legislative Action Alert recommends that we "Tell the legislators that local government needs to have the ability to regulate the breeding of pit bulls, the unnamed subjects of this legislation, for the welfare of both the public and the dogs themselves. Too many misused and mistreated pit bulls flood the animal shelters."

Californians, you can write in favor to you assembly member and please also send a quick note of support to the bill's author, Senator Speier. You can email her at: Senator.Speier [at] It is likely the office will print out emails in support. A written letter is preferable (but only if it actually gets printed out and sent) and should be sent to:

Senator Jackie Speier
State Capitol, Room 2032
Sacramento, CA 95814

You can read the full Los Angeles Times article on line at
OR try this Tiny URL

It presents a great opportunity for letters about California's companion animal overpopulation crisis and the need for extensive spay-neuter legislation. Legislators look to letters to the editor pages as barometers of public opinion, so your letters matter. The Los Angeles Times takes letters at: letters [at]

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
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i love animalsKris HillMonday Mar 29th, 2010 1:22 AM
IdiotsAngry ownerSaturday Jan 19th, 2008 4:40 PM
What?mydogsbetterThursday Jun 15th, 2006 3:51 PM
Animal Lover self righteous little pip squeekhannahMonday Apr 3rd, 2006 12:19 PM
You people make me soo sickHeatherWednesday Mar 29th, 2006 12:55 PM
2 centsMarcSaturday Mar 25th, 2006 3:56 PM
Denver pitbull ban and California dog legislationKaren DawnFriday Mar 17th, 2006 9:03 PM
naive peoplerandomWednesday Mar 8th, 2006 5:09 PM
Hey hey hey!me aginFriday Mar 3rd, 2006 4:25 PM
I agree yet disagreeBeckyFriday Mar 3rd, 2006 4:22 PM

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