City supervisors passed new laws requiring spaying and neutering of pit bulls on Tuesday, five months after the fatal mauling of a 12-year-old boy by his family’s pit bulls.
It was the latest move in the contentious debate about how to regulate pit bulls after the death of Nicholas Faibish in June.
“This will serve as a model for other cities in how to responsibly craft laws and policies that deal with dog aggression,” said Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who wrote the laws. “We needed to do something.”
Dufty said that over the next two to three years, the rules will reduce the number of pit bulls in the hands of irresponsible owners.
The ordinances also require city permits to breed pit bulls and prohibit owners of pit bulls or pit bull mixes from retrieving impounded dogs unless the animals are sterilized.
Owners who refuse to spaying or neutering would face fines of up to $1,000. Breeders of show dogs recognized by a kennel club would be exempt. The ordinances are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.
Protests against new laws
The rules were passed as a group of dog owners is collecting signatures in an effort to overturn a recently passed state law that allows cities and counties to enact “breed specific” ordinances.
The group must collect more than 300,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, by next November at the earliest.
Dawn Capp, the attorney leading the effort, called San Francisco’s measure rushed and predicted a legal challenge.
“It’s not a surprise — they had their minds made up way back when,” said Capp, adding that bad legislation “has far outnumbered dog bites in the history of humanity.”