Judge ponders Loudoun’s pit bull policy
Loudoun County’s policy prohibiting the adoption of pit bulls from the county shelter ended up in court this week, with two days of arguments over whether it amounts to discriminating against the breed.
Loudoun is the only Northern Virginia county that prohibits public adoptions of pit bulls, and it has reportedly euthanized 214 of them since January 2006.
The case, heard in Loudoun County Circuit Court, stems from a civil lawsuit that claims the county violated state and local laws that give people the right to adopt the dog of their choice from a publicly funded shelter.
Until 2007, Loudoun euthanized all abandoned pit bulls. Since then it has allowed them to be transferred to rescue groups or other shelters, if they passed a temperament test. The change followed a ruling by former Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell that pit bulls taken to public pounds could not be euthanized based solely on their breed.
After McDonnell’s opinion came out, Montgomery, Prince William and Arlington counties approved policies allowing pit bulls to be adopted after they had been evaluated, joining the District and Fairfax County. In Loudon County, the county Board of Supervisors voted down a proposal to allow the public to adopt temperament-tested pit bulls.
The lawsuit was filed after that, by Animal Rescue of Tidewater. Loudoun County officials argue that there is no “breed bias” and said shelter staffers were doing the “best job they can” to make all adoptable dogs available to Loudoun residents.
Since the county’s new transfer policy started, 122 pit bulls have been euthanized. The county euthanizes about 84 percent of all pit bulls, compared to 48 percent of all other dogs, the Washington Post reported.
A ruling from Judge Burke F. McCahill is expected soon.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animal rescue of tidewater, animal welfare, breed bias, breed discrimination, breed-specific, breeds, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, humane, lalwsuit, lawsuit, loudoun county, northern virginia, pit bull, pit bulls, rescue, shelters, virginia