Friday, October 16, 2009

Loose Pit Bull

Last week, Zoe was walking Bella, her rescued Aussie-Chow mix, when they encountered a loose, intact Pit Bull--no tags, no collar. If you do not feel a frisson picturing such an encounter, check to be sure you have a pulse.

Like many rescues, Bella has "issues." In the years that she has lived with Zoe's family, Bella has made great strides in learning to trust and in becoming less reactive. But the emotional scars of past mistreatment will never be totally eradicated. Like all dogs, Bella enjoys and deserves walks. Her safety, of course, depends on other dog owners observing leash laws and keeping their dogs properly confined. THAT is what leash laws are for.

Somehow, Zoe maintained her composure, slowly turned Bella to return home and calmly chatted to the dogs as the loose Pit Bull followed them all the way home and settled in their yard as Zoe carefully opened the door to take Bella into safety. And yes, Bella has been spayed, but I understand that intact male dogs do not always make that distinction.

Since Zoe and Bella live in San Marcos, their leash law enforcement agency is Escondido Humane Society. Do not bother looking for the EHS phone number in the phone book. It is not there. Zoe contacted the City of San Marcos for the number, but waited until 10:00 am to call. That is when a live person begins to take messages at Escondido Humane Society.

Upon learning that an intact Pit Bull was loose in Zoe's neighborhood, the EHS representative informed Zoe that Escondido Humane Society is more than busy because they are the animal enforcement authority for the cities of Escondido, Poway, AND San Marcos. So, there was no certainty that one of their officers would be available to respond to a report of a LOOSE, INTACT, PIT BULL--with no identification.

Think about that.

The City of San Marcos, the County of San Diego--indeed, every jurisdiction within the County of San Diego--have a SERIOUS problem with an over-abundance of unsocialized Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes. San Diego Pit Bull Rescue works tirelessly to ameliorate the situation, but there are limits to what a group of even the most dedicated volunteers can do.

Public shelters have more Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes brought into their custody than they can ever hope to place for adoption. One wonders just what priorities should take precedence for EHS's attention over a loose, intact Pit Bull--potential source for even MORE unplanned, unsocialized Pit Bull mixes.

San Diego County Animal Control is the dog-related law enforcement authority for most of San Diego County. However, the City of San Marcos, along with Escondido and Poway, has contracted with Escondido Humane Society to enforce their leash laws. Escondido Humane Society represented itself as capable of performing that job.

Frankly, I have my doubts.

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