By Dennis Romero, from LA Weekly
Los Angeles County, CA
Last month a woman jogging east of Palmdale was fatally mauled by a pack of pit bulls. The shocking attack landed the dogs' owner in jail, where he faces a rare murder charge for something four of his canines allegedly did.
Now Los Angeles County authorities are cracking down on "dangerous dogs" with one of the best weapons around: Money.
The office of county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky this week announced that $3.5 million in new spending has been approved specifically for new animal control officers, vicious dog investigations and prosecutions, and a call center in Lancaster that could get help for dangerous dog complaints quicker.
County government is also considering expanding the legal definition of a potentially dangerous dog to include a history of attacks on livestock as well as attacks on people, says Yaroslavsky's office.
The fresh cash, meanwhile, will help fund a 9-person unit that will be focused solely on designating problem dogs, like the ones owned by the suspect in the jogger's death, as "potentially dangerous."
That would give the pooches a strike on their records that would help authorities take them away from irresponsible owners.
The county says the extra cash and enforcement could prevent future tragedies like story of jogger Pamela Marie Devitt, 63.
"If we'd had more Major Case Unit officers, the guy in Littlerock might have come up on our radar sooner and we might have been able to bring a case against him sooner."