Los Angeles County supervisors strengthen vicious dog rules

One of the pit bulls seized by authorities, housed in L.A. County animal shelter in Lancaster.
One of the pit bulls seized by authorities, housed in L.A. County animal shelter in Lancaster.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County’s supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to strengthen the county’s regulations on vicious dogs in the wake of a dog attack that killed a woman in the Antelope Valley town of Littlerock in May.

The new rules expand the definition of a “potentially dangerous dog” to include those that have attacked livestock. Previously, the law covered only dogs that had attacked people or pets.

Attacks on livestock “are often a precursor of attacks on pets or people,” county animal control Director Marcia Mayeda wrote in a report to the board.


Owners of dogs that are declared potentially dangerous can be ordered to adhere to conditions such as buying homeowners insurance, putting their animals through obedience training, keeping them on the property unless muzzled and leashed, and keeping them in a secure yard or pen.

Alex Donald Jackson, 29, owner of the dogs that killed Pamela Devitt, 63, in Littlerock, was charged with murder in the case. Jackson’s dogs had previously attacked horses, emus and humans, authorities said.

L.A. County set up a special unit to process cases of potentially dangerous dogs in January 2012. As of June, the unit had handled more than 300 cases stemming from serious dog attacks countywide.

In the wake of the fatal attack in Littlerock, the supervisors also approved additional funding to add animal control officers and a communications center in the Antelope Valley.


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