A challenge to a Beaufort County ordinance requiring owners of pit bulls and pit bull mixes to have their pets spayed or neutered is heading to state court.
The legal challenge could affect Columbia City Council’s interest in a similar proposal suggested last week by a citizen’s committee for any dog of those breeds who goes to the city’s animal shelter.
Gabriela Gonzalez is challenging the Beaufort County ordinance after her dog, Kyra, got loose in November and the county ordered the animal spayed, the Island Packet of Hilton Head reports.
Gonzalez argues Kyra is not a pit bull but a breed called an American bully and if spayed she will not be able to show the dog.
A county magistrate ruled Tuesday that magistrate’s court should handle the case.
But Gonzalez is appealing to circuit court on the grounds that while magistrate courts can hear such things as property and contract disputes, magistrates can’t hear disputes between residents and county agencies.
The proposal made in Columbia would mean that more than 900 pit bull or pit bull mix dogs yearly would be surgically kept from breeding, according to figures from shelter director Marli Drum.
Stray cats also would be trapped, neutered and released should City Council approve the proposed changes, which include an array of other animal control proposals.
Staff Writer Clif LeBlanc and The Associated Press contributed.