Here’s the conclusion the Watsonville City Council reached Tuesday, when they pooh-pooed the idea of enacting regulations against specific breeds of dogs:
Dogs aren’t the problem. People are.
Instead, the council directed staff to stiffen existing rules, develop an educational outreach program and explore having city or civil court authorities oversee hearings about vicious dogs.
The city began looking into breed specific legislation after two pit bulls escaped from a yard in June, frightening neighbors and killing five cats. Pit bulls also were involved in two other conflicts in 2007.
“In many cases it’s not the dog, it’s the owner,” said Councilman Manuel Bersamin. “Sometimes teens get pit bulls to add to their sense of manliness. I don’t know if they’re good owners. … We only find out when there’s an attack.”
Several people spoke out against adopting specific regulations for pit bulls, Rottweilers or other large breeds, according to a San Jose Mercury News report.
City Finance Director Marc Pimental, who helped prepare the report for the council, said while targeting breeds was an option, he didn’t recommend it. Cities that have adopted such legislation have found themselves fighting court battles.
Christine Allen, a local member of San Francisco-based Bad Rap, a pit bull rescue group, praised the city for looking at options other than breed restrictions.
A lot of times it is the owner,” she said. “A lot of these owners don’t know they can do it better. They don’t know how. They don’t have the resources.”