Vicious dog law seen as success in Ripon
RIPON - Ripon Councilman Dan Prince didn't just sit idly by after he had some of his family pets killed by pit bulls that were let loose in his neighborhood.
The ordinance that he got implemented - in compliance with California's SB 861 Dangerous Dog Breed Bill - sparked somewhat of a controversy with certain dog owner groups that didn't agree with it, Police Chief Richard Bull says that everything has been pretty much status quo in terms of compliance of the mandatory spaying and neutering of pit bull breeds.
"We haven't had any problems in terms of enforcing the ordinance, and people have been pretty responsive when it comes to complying," said Bull. "It was a community safety focused ordinance, and while it hasn't been without complaint, most people realize that."
Last month, Manteca Vice Mayor Vince Hernandez proposed to have Manteca establish their own vicious breed ordinance that he said would be aimed at the favorite animal for gang members to possess - pit bulls.
"These dogs mark their territory just like gang members do," Hernandez said. "It's about power and nothing else."
While Ripon's gang problem didn't play a factor in the passing of the original legislation - which mandates that all residents who aren't issued a special breeder's license from the city or possessing AKC or UKC registered "show dogs" spay or neuter their particular breed of "Pit Bull" (a name used for a variety of bull terrier dogs outlined in the ordinance - it hasn't hurt a town that many residents have applauded for its low crime rate and family atmosphere.
The penalties for getting caught in Ripon with one of the dogs aren't light.
On a first offense, law enforcement officials and animal control officers have the right to impound the animal and issue a fine of $500 - allowing the animal only to be taken back by the owner if they agree to allow the department to spay or neuter the animal and pay $100 up front towards the overall cost of the procedure.
Additional costs may be incurred, according to the text.
A second offense would be considered a misdemeanor, and would be punishable by a fine or time in the San Joaquin County Jail.
Sending a strong message to those in town with dangerous animals was part of Prince's original intent, and it's something that Bull feels has been achieved.
"People know that if they come into town that they're going have to spay or neuter their animal or else they'll have to face the legal ramifications of that," Bull said.
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Bless the Bullys