Contra Costa considering strict neuter law for strays

December 1, 2010 6:54:06 PM PST
A Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors committee is looking into the problem of stray dogs. They have scrapped one controversial plan and now are now investigating a new one that might inspire owners to keep their pets on short leash.

A dachshund mix named Harry has found a new best friend and a new beginning. Until Wednesday afternoon, Harry was like many other dogs in the Contra Costa County shelter, abandoned and homeless.

But before Harry can go home, he has one more ordeal ahead -- he needs to be neutered.

As of now, Contra Costa County does not send any adopted dog home without being spayed or neutered. Now, the county's rules may become even more severe. It is considering a law that would spay or neuter all stray, impounded dogs.

"We are not trying to put every dog under the knife, we are trying to identify irresponsible dog owners, and return the spayed or neutered, which is the best thing to do in the long run," Supervisor John Gioia said.

Gioia and the public protection committee have asked for a study, which stems from the disproportionate number of pit bull attacks and pit bulls turning up as strays. Originally, the panel had looked into mandatory spay and neutering of all such dogs the county, but backed off

"When we first proposed mandatory spaying and neutering for pit bulls, people thought that was discrimination by breed," Gioia said.

The county's goal is to reduce the number of strays and euthanized animals. They also expect some resistance from dog owners.

"If a dog has strayed, the owner needs to be fined when he comes back to get the dog," dog owner Vic Weisser said.

The budding controversy remains a work in progress. It is only a study, thus far and months away from any vote by Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.


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