New California Law Gives ‘Vicious’ Dogs a Second Chance

Pit bulls peer from their cage at the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter in San Bernardino, California, on Feb. 4, 2014, where the Eastwood Ranch Foundation and PAWS For Hope and Faith sponsored an event 'No Pet Left Behind.' (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

California will no longer label dogs seized from illegal fighting rings as “vicious,” making safe rescue dogs more likely to get adopted.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday to give dogs with cruel owners a chance at rehabilitation.

“Once it goes into effect, all of these canine victims of cruelty will get a second chance and potentially be able to have a new beginning,” said Brandy Kuentzel, general counsel and director of advocacy for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

AB1825 allows animal sanctuaries, veterinarians and others to judge dogs’ behavior before labeling them.

State law classifies as vicious any dog that hurts a person without provocation. It previously included dogs from fighting rings whose owners were convicted of felony dogfighting.

Lawmakers say the label is often a death sentence. If they’re not put down by animal control units, the law requires owners to license and confine dogs deemed vicious.

Democratic Assemblyman Rich Gordon of Menlo Park says California was one of 11 states that categorized animals that way.

Brown also signed a bill banning shelters from gassing animals with carbon dioxide to euthanize them.

New California Law Gives ‘Vicious’ Dogs a Second Chance 3 August,2016KQED News Staff and Wires

  • Bart Lance

    Why take the chance, put’em down! There are too many dogs in this country anyway…. Especially those worthless Pit Bulls

  • Helga Joubert

    But pit bull advocates strenuously claim “it’s all in how they’re raised.” Well, is it or isn’t it?? If these animals were raised by dog fighters, they’re ruined, according to that theory. Isn’t that why people pay a lot for a pit bull puppy, yet the adult pit bulls clogging the shelters are worthless–if you get it young you can “raise it right.”
    Oh, and way to recycle fighting dogs and make sure they can live to fight another day. You fools really think no spectator or fellow dog fighter will follow the news of a bust, find out where the good fighters were taken, and try to adopt them for themselves?
    Dog fighters everywhere are overjoyed with this law, I’m sure. Good job, California.

    • Helga Joubert

      But hey, as long as you aren’t “discriminating” that’s all that matters, right? God knows politicians don’t want to be labeled bigots, even if we’re only talking about damn ugly, mean dogs.
      By the way, the whole point of breeds is stereotyping and discriminating.

  • Lg Richards

    If they stalk a human and decide to attack them or maim them or take the humans life; it is time to put them down.
    If the dog is abused by a human perhaps it’s time to take the abusers life?

  • Pit bulls who are bred and raised to fight are bred to be aggressive toward other dogs, not toward humans. In fact, quite the opposite. They are incredibly loyal and loving to humans, even after being treated despicably. And they *can* be rehabilitated. So, yes, their behavior is formed by how they are raised. But they also have the capacity to be transformed with the right people, in the right environment and proper behavior modification training. Many of the dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick’s fighting ring were rehabilitated and adopted by good people who have given them loving homes in which they thrive. You can read about some of them here:

    It’s terrible that our shelters are filled with unwanted dogs, particularly pit bulls, but promoting the idea that these dogs are worthless and all dogs from fighting rings should be killed isn’t fair. Over the past 8 years, I’ve taken in two pit mixes off the streets of LA. They both required a lot of work and training (I don’t recommend it for everyone), but I wouldn’t trade either one of them for anything now. They are loyal, smart, loving and goofy. Kudos to Governor Brown and the California lawmakers who drafted this legislation.

  • I Can See You

    The Vick dogs prove you can’t generalize. I suspect the hate in some comments is from people who are afraid of dogs.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor