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Possible pitbull regulations

Pitbull-lovers came to voice their opinions to the City Council Monday
By: Bridget Jones Journal staff writer
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Dog enthusiasts opposed possible breed-specific regulations focusing on pitbulls at an Auburn City Council meeting Monday. Proposed regulations have come after several recent attacks on community members by dogs designated as pitbulls. Residents from as far away as Ukiah and as close as Loomis, Newcastle and Placerville gave City Council members their opinions about possible amendments to city code relating to animals. The proposed amendments would enforce the spay and neuter of pitbulls including the bull terrier, miniature bull terrier, American pitbull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and other dogs resembling the pitbull breed, according to city documents. The amendments, which were presented in a first reading only, would also enforce no more than two dogs of all breeds be kept in each residential home. Spay and neuter regulations would only apply to pitbulls. Tawni Brown of Lincoln is the owner of an American bully named Kali. The American bully is a breed derived from the American pitbull terrier and American Staffordshire terrier. Brown said earlier Monday she doesn’t agree with breed-specific legislation because the dogs themselves are not causing problems. “People are so harsh on the pitbulls, but it’s really about the owners,” Brown said. “I think it’s not fair they put so many regulations on the dog when people don’t treat them the right way and breed them for the wrong reasons.” The following dogs would be exempt from proposed city code amendments: pitbulls that are show dogs, have current breeding permits, are at serious risk of harm or death from spaying or neutering, are less than six months old and those who have been in the city for less than 30 days, according to city documents. Auburn city residents would have until Nov. 24 to reduce the number of dogs in their homes to no more than two. That applies to any breed of dog. Councilman Mike Holmes said he was concerned about the possible restriction of dogs in one home. “What is the allowance as far as do they have to destroy any more than two (dogs)?” Holmes asked. “The reason I ask is I know families in Auburn who have more than two dogs.” “If you license your dogs before (Nov. 24) … you can maintain that number of dogs,” said Wilfred Wong of the Community Development Department. Bill Hemby of Grass Valley said Monday night pitbull-specific legislation would not work because there are so many types of dogs that fall under the umbrella name of pitbull. “Identifying one of these animals is going to become very difficult, so it becomes a subjective thing,” Hemby said. Jim Landrith, Auburn resident for 66 years, said he never worried about pit bulls during his career as a mailman. “The worst dog bite I had was from a toy poodle,” Landrith said. “A dog reacts to its environment, and training and how it’s treated.” Randy Robinson, a veterinarian practicing in Placerville, said pitbulls can be very friendly, but “bad guys” can also raise them negatively. “I’m not necessarily an advocate of any breed,” Robinson said. “I’m a dog advocate. Pitbulls to me are fun to work with; they’re lovely dogs. Unfortunately pitbulls are very strong. Unfortunately they’re easily trained.” City Council members made suggestions for changes in the second reading of the proposed amendments. These included changing the number of dogs allowed in one home according to zoning laws as well as adding a provision to allow for more dogs in a home where they are being fostered or trained as assistance animals. Council members also suggested a review of the amendments if they are passed in the future. Follow future Journal reports for more on what’s next for the proposed amendments. In other City Council business: · The council approved a resolution to authorize the director of Public Works to create a consultant agreement with local company Coastland for engineering design services for the Palm Avenue sidewalk and bicycle lane project. · Council members approved the motion to conduct a second reading of an amendment to city code that could change defensible space regulations in areas of high fire risk. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com