Proposal: Let Washington dog owners appeal ‘dangerous’ breed bans

28 cities have ordinances that restrict or ban ownership of pit bull terriers

Even though 2-year-old Maggie is a beloved pet, she is subjected to breed-based discrimination in Washington municipalities that ban pit bulls. Proposed legislation would make allowances for well-behaved canines regardless of pedigree. Photo by Tessa Kriechbaumer

Even though 2-year-old Maggie is a beloved pet, she is subjected to breed-based discrimination in Washington municipalities that ban pit bulls. Proposed legislation would make allowances for well-behaved canines regardless of pedigree. Photo by Tessa Kriechbaumer

By Emma Scher, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Cities that ban certain dog breeds would have to provide an appeal process for owners under proposed legislation that makes exceptions for good dogs of an outlawed pedigree.

According to DogsBite, a nonprofit organization that advocates for victims of dog maulings, 28 cities in Washington state have ordinances that restrict or ban ownership of pit bull terriers, or declare the entire breed as “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous.”

House Bill 1026 originally aimed to prohibit a ban on specific dog breeds in local jurisdictions. But a substitute bill that passed through committee on Thursday would still allow the breed bans, but requires jurisdictions to implement an appeals process.

“People make dogs dangerous, dogs aren’t born dangerous,” said prime sponsor Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo. “It’s discriminatory to tell someone that they can’t live in your town because of the member of their family.”

Through the appeals process, specific dogs may be exempt from the regulations if they pass a canine behavioral test. If the dog passes, it would be exempt to possession prohibitions for two years and subject to a retest to maintain the exemption. If the dog fails the test, it may retake the test within a reasonable period of time.

Rep. Jenny Graham, R-Mead, voted yes on the bill as it stands now, but supports local jurisdictions being able to create breed-based bans.

“At one and a half, I was bitten by a German Shepherd — I bear the scars still — eight times in the head and face. I’m lucky to be alive, and that was a German Shepherd,” said Rep. Graham. “With the bigger dogs that are capable of hurting or killing, there needs to be some protection there.

The bill was voted out of committee 8-2 with a “do pass” recommendation, and has not been scheduled for a floor debate.

More in News

Issaquah City Hall. File photo
Mayor Pauly reacts to I-976; city plans face uncertainty

Passing of the initiative could have major consequences for Issaquah.

Political activist Tim Eyman campaigns for Initiative 976 on Nov. 5 in downtown Bellevue. The initiative promised $30 car tabs while functionally eliminating the ability of agencies like Sound Transit to raise taxes for its projects. Photo by Aaron Kunkler
Election analysis: Eastside cities largely voted against I-976

Most Eastside cities weren’t swayed by I-976, though more voters approved it than the county average.

Courtesy photo
                                Dr. Nse Ekpo is the new Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra conductor.
IPO welcomes new conductor

Dr. Ense Ekpo will conduct his first concert with IPO on Nov. 25.

Skyline sexual assault survivors go forward with lawsuit. File photo
ISD lawsuit trial date delayed until next spring

Skyline sexual assault survivors go forward with lawsuit.

A King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity. Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s office
Judge rules Value Village deceived customers

The King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity.

King County will challenge legality of I-976

County Executive Dow Constantine: ‘We must clean up another mess that Tim Eyman has created for our state, our region, and our economy’

Hall leads council Pos. 2; Flood leads council Pos. 3

Preliminary results came in Tuesday night.

Eastside, Bothell firefighters depart to battle California blaze

Team comprised of Seattle, Eastside, Bothell, Valley Regional, and Duvall fire department members.

Sound Publishing file photo
King County Council authorizes staff to draft road levy ballot measure

The county is projected to run out of capital funding for roads and bridges by 2025.

Most Read