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Pitbull regulations nixed

Breed-specific legislation deleted from updated animal ordinance
By: Bridget Jones, Journal staff writer
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There will be no breed-specific legislation in Auburn. In a three-to-two vote Monday night, Auburn City Council members decided to delete regulations about the mandatory spay and neuter of pitbulls from the city’s updated animal ordinance and directed city staff to work to support Safety First, the new educational and assistance program for dog owners and community members in Auburn. The new animal ordinance was heard in a first reading May 24. The proposal recommended the spay and neuter of all dogs classified as pitbulls with some exceptions. At that time City Council also heard a proposal to require no more than two dogs be permitted in a residential household. The limitation on the number of dogs in a household will be included in a proposed zoning update brought before the City Council in a future meeting. The City Council was presented with two alternatives to enacting breed-specific legislation: to delete requirements written specifically for pitbulls from the updated ordinance or to enact an update that would require the spay and neuter of all dogs in the city. Councilman Mike Holmes said although he was looking out for his constituents, he didn’t think pitbull regulations were the way to do that. “I am persuaded that what we’re really concerned about overall is public safety,” Holmes said. “I think the original ordinance we were presented with maybe went a little too far. I’m not in favor of breed-specific legislation.” Councilmen Kevin Hanley, Mike Holmes and Dr. Bill Kirby voted for the alternative deleting pitbull regulations from the ordinance. Councilman Keith Nesbitt and Mayor Bridget Powers voted against it. Nesbitt said he supported mandatory spay and neuter of all dogs or breed-specific legislation, noting that the Placer County SPCA offers lower-cost spay and neuter services for pitbulls and pitbull mixes. “They themselves are breed-specific,” Nesbitt said. “I don’t think this ordinance really infringes that much on responsible dog owners.” Powers said she was for the mandatory spay and neuter of all dogs, but was also interested in working with Safety First to educate residents about their pets. Powers said she spent a lot of time knocking on her neighbors’ doors to get an idea about what the community wanted in this ordinance. “I had a 50/50 (response),” Powers said. “Some were for breed-specific (legislation) and some were not. Some were for mandatory spay and neuter.” Members of the local dog advocate community also made their voices heard at the meeting Monday. Dawn Capp of Chako Pit Bull Rescue in Sacramento said owners should not be punished if they raise their dogs properly, and the city should make an attempt to punish the owners of any dogs proven to be aggressive. “I don’t believe it is fair or just to infringe on the rights of responsible owners,” Capp said. “Dog bites, dog attacks are not limited to one breed.” In other City Council business: · Bernie Schroeder was appointed Public Works Director · The Council approved a community member’s $5,000 donation to the Auburn Police Department. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com