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County revises vicious dog ordinance

Expands definition to include attacks on livestock

Posted: September 12, 2013 5:05 p.m.
Updated: September 12, 2013 5:05 p.m.

Supervisors voted earlier this week to strengthen regulations and expand the definition of potentially dangerous or vicious dogs in Los Angeles County, a decision that comes on the heels of a fatal dog attack in the Antelope Valley earlier this year.

The revised ordinance, approved Tuesday, expands the definition of a vicious dog to include animals that attack livestock.

This is because attacks on animals can foreshadow an attack on people or pets, said Marcia Mayeda, director of the Department of Animal Care and Control, in a report to the board.

“Public safety has to be our top priority — and it is the responsibility of every dog owner to ensure that their pet does not pose a threat to people, other pets or livestock,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich Thursday.

“We also want to encourage the spaying, neutering and micro-chipping of all dogs and ask the public to report wandering or vicious dogs and owners who allow their dogs to roam, breed, fight and injure people and other animals.”

The vicious designation carries with it the potential of additional regulations for owners, including keeping dogs secured, muzzling dogs when taking them out in public and, in some cases, buying additional insurance.

The decision comes several months after a woman, 63-year-old Pamela Devitt, was killed by a pack of pit bulls in Littlerock on May 9.

The owner of the dogs, identified as Alex Jackson, has been charged with murder as a result of the attack, in part because his dogs had previously attacked animals and humans, according to officials.

The attack in Littlerock also spurred other action from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, namely additional funding to staff more officers and build an animal control communications center to serve the Antelope Valley.

A roaming pit bull ripped the leg off another dog in Canyon Country in May, about a week after the fatal attack in Littlerock.
A similar incident occurred in 2011, when a dog attacked and killed another dog in Valencia.

In 2010, a pit bull attacked a young child at an apartment complex in Newhall, causing severe injuries and sending the child to a hospital.
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