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Fatal Toddler Mauling Pushes CoCo Spay And Neuter Ordinance

August 5, 2010

MARTINEZ, Calif. -- Contra Costa County is considering an ordinance that would require pit bull owners to spay or neuter their pets in the aftermath of the fatal mauling of a toddler by a pit bull last month.

Pit bulls have their defenders. "I've met many pit bulls that are the sweetest dogs in my life," said Nicole Smith of Martinez.

But Contra Costa Country Supervisor John Gioia argued that there were more resident worried by the breed.

"We get people who say they are concerned they see a pit bull roaming the street or on a leash," said Gioia.

Gioia is one of the principles pushing for the new ordinance requiring pit bull owners to spay and neuter their dogs. Gioia said pit bulls tend to be less aggressive when they're fixed.

"The dual objective of this type of ordinance is to limit the already abundant population of pit bull type breeds and to make our community safer," said Gioia.

The supervisor said the ordinance, patterned after a similar ordinance in San Francisco, was written is in response to last month's mauling death of two-year-old Jacob Bisbee.

The boys step-grandfather, Steven Hayashi, the owner of the pit bulls involved in Bisbee's death, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse.

Hayashi told KTVU Thursday that he supports the ordinance, but he feels he's being used.

The District Attorney's office has since added a death enhancement to the child abuse charge and revealed that Hayashi's pit bulls killed a parrot, an akita, and a chihuahua prior to the death of his stepgrandson.

On Thursday, Hayashi pleaded not guilty to the charges.

KTVU asked some Contra Costa County residents their opinion on the possible ordinance.

"I don't think they should force anybody to do it. It should be voluntary that's about how I feel," said Debbie Albin of Concord.

"I think it's necessary to spay them if they are not trained properly," said Eileen Chen of Pittsburg.

Supervisor Gioia said the ordinance could go into effect as early as this coming fall if approved by the Board of Supervisors.