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

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

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

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

From left to right: Plateau Outreach Ministries Director Elaine Olson, Outreach Case Manager for Veterans and Seniors Lisa Napolitano, and Director Elisha Smith-Marshall stand outside of their nonprofit’s office. The trio work together regularly to help lift up the vulnerable populations in Enumclaw, Black Diamond and Covington.
                                Photo by Danielle Chastaine
A mighty team of three help local vets and seniors

Plateau Outreach Ministries works with the county to repair vulnerable homes

Changes to Black Diamond city code address attorney contracts

The city said it is clarifying the mayor has the power to hire and fire attorneys; some residents say this gives the mayor too much power.

Trash talk: Enumclaw renews solid waste pact with King County

Additionally, the public comment period for the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley is open through Aug. 26.

Levy passage ensures Foothills Trail bridge connection

A new bridge could come as soon as 2021 or 2022.

Taking a break from recording numbers, scientist Mauri Pelto balances on the walls of an ice chute to take footage of a water current on Columbia Glacier. (Zachariah Bryan / The Herald)
Chronicling the last years of a dying North Cascades glacier

For almost four decades, scientist Mauri Pelto has journeyed to measure the melting Columbia Glacier.

Fire Marshal releases firework incident numbers

More than 300 incidents were reported this year.

Local historical society celebrates Filipino heritage

The event is this weekend, Aug. 24, from 11 to 4 p.m.

FBI alleges Auburn man was the ringleader behind multi-million dollar theft ring

For six years, two South King County businesses were used to illegally sell stolen items.

Candidates sought for posts where none filed

South Prairie and Wilkeson need someone to file to be a council member — the due date is Aug. 15.

Most Read