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Pit bulls have friend in Linda Sell at the Manteca Animal Shelter
Linda Sell. - photo by Photo contributed by Lauren Mitchell


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Since Manteca’s city council passed an ordinance in October 2008 requiring all pit bulls and pit bull mixed breeds be spayed or neutered, illegal pit bulls have been a constant worry for animal control workers, especially Linda Sell.

Having started as a volunteer at the animal control center over four years ago, Sell has watched the city’s pit bull problem spin out of control. In fact, the majority of dogs brought in to animal control are either pure pit bulls or pit bull crossbreeds.  As Sell explains, the problem is not the breed itself, but the fact that the dogs are “getting in the wrong hands” and being trained to be aggressive. Yet even though they pick up a lot of dogs from the streets who are very friendly, they have problems adopting them out.  When potential owners realize that the dogs will have to be fixed, they are suddenly no longer interested.  Though they have committed no crimes, these dogs are paying a heavy price.

Linda Sell has been trying for years to let people know the facts about pit bulls.  It breaks her heart to see dog after dog come in for the same irresponsibility of ownership.  Sell herself now works part-time at the shelter, and consistently inspires awe in her coworkers.  As one colleague says, “Sell has not missed a day in four years…She’s like the animal whisperer in here.”  Sell has loved animals for as long as she can remember.  Growing up on a farm in Modesto, Sell’s compassion was passed down from her mother, who always kept animals around the property.  Sell even keeps a picture handy of herself with her first dog, Laddie, and is ready to show it to anyone who walks in the door. 

As an adult, Linda Sell’s passion has not faded.  After years of working 12 hours a day most days and seven days a week at animal control, she refuses to give it up, however hard the job may be.  “This place is heartbreaking.  It really is,” she explains.  When asked how Linda helps the animals, her coworkers interject, “She cleans them, feeds them, loves them and takes care of every need they have – even brushing down the cats.”

This amazing devotion is the reason Linda Sell is so worried about the city’s pit bulls. The City ordinance has decreed that all of Manteca’s pit bulls must be fixed and licensed, which also requires a rabies vaccination.  However, the incessant flow of pit bulls refuses to ebb.  People constantly claim ignorance of the ordinance, causing the dogs to be impounded again and again.  Manteca needs to listen to people like Linda Sell, who work their hearts out to save our animals every day.  Pit bull owners need to step up and take responsibility for their pets.