September 2, 2005

CORRECTED:Calif. pit bulls may face sterilization

Please read headline as "Calif. pit bulls may face
sterilization." In paragraph eight, please read "offend pit
bull lovers" instead of "offend pit bill lovers."

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - California lawmakers
approved a law on Wednesday that would allow cities to mandate
sterilization of potentially dangerous dog breeds such as pit

The measure follows the death in June of a 12-year-old San
Francisco boy mauled by his family's pet pit bull as well as
other recent incidents that attracted wide media attention.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom asked for state
legislation to allow greater city control over the animals.

"We wanted to institute a mandatory spay and neutering
program; however, there was a law in Sacramento pushed by
advocates at some time in the past that said you cannot pass
breed-specific laws," said Newsom spokesman Peter Ragone. "So
we had to ask for a change in state legislation."

"People in California are going to be safer because this
legislation passed, no doubt about it."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger must sign the bill for it to
become law.

Pit bull lovers rallied against the measure, generating
most of the 2,100 letters, phone calls and e-mails received by
the bill author, state Sen. Jackie Speier, said spokeswoman
Tracy Fairchild. Of her 55 bills this year, none generated so
much public comment, Fairchild said.

Some of the bill's amended language appears to go out of
the way not to offend pit bull lovers.

"Though no specific breed of dog is inherently dangerous or
vicious, the growing pet overpopulation and lack of regulation
of animal breeding practices necessitates a repeal of the ban
on breed-specific solutions," the measure said.

Pit bulls accounted for about a third of the more than 200
fatal dog attacks in the United States from 1979 to 1998,
according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention.

Some U.S. cities such as Denver, Miami and Cincinnati ban
the dogs altogether.