Like the Washington State Legislature, the Humane Society believes there is no evidence particular dog breeds are more likely to be dangerous than others, and that breed-specific bans do not reduce dog bites or attacks. Photo courtesy Meredith Lee / The HSUS.

Like the Washington State Legislature, the Humane Society believes there is no evidence particular dog breeds are more likely to be dangerous than others, and that breed-specific bans do not reduce dog bites or attacks. Photo courtesy Meredith Lee / The HSUS.

Buckley passes new dangerous dog ordinance

Pit bulls and other “dangerous” canines on the Plateau can now take a test to be exempt from breed-specific legislation

For decades, both Enumclaw and Buckley had dangerous dog ordinances on the books, specifically banning pit bull-type canines.

But due to a new state law going into effect January 2020, both cities have had to revise their laws; Enumclaw got their ducks all in a row last July, and Buckley followed suit during their Dec. 10 council meeting.

The new legislation, which passed with a healthy margin in the House and a slim margin in the Senate, doesn’t exactly force cities to do away with all of their dangerous dog rules — just tweak them a bit to allow exceptions.

“While the legislature recognizes that local jurisdictions have a valid public safety interest in protecting citizens from dog attacks, the legislature finds that a dog’s breed is not inherently indicative of whether or not a dog is dangerous and that the criteria for determining whether or not a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous should be focused on the dog’s behavior,” reads House Bill 1026. “The legislature further finds that breed-specific ordinances fail to address the factors that cause dogs to become aggressive and place an undue hardship on responsible dog owners who provide proper socialization and training. The legislature intends to encourage local jurisdictions to more effectively and fairly control dangerous dogs and enhance public safety by focusing on dogs’ behavior rather than their breeds.”

In layman’s terms, this means Buckley and Enumclaw can continue to ban certain breeds of dogs — namely Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, or any dog to partially be any of these breeds — but must make an exception for dogs that pass an American Kennel Club (or “a [reasonable] equivalent”) canine behavioral test, reads RCW 16.08.110.

Dogs that do pass the behavioral test are exempt from any breed-based legislation for at least two years, which at that point can re-take the test to extend their exemption status; dogs that fail the test are allowed to try again within a reasonable amount if time.

The American Kennel Association’s Canine Good Citizen program tests 10 behaviors: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, appearance and grooming, out on a walk with a loose lead, walking through a crowd, sitting on command and staying in place, coming when called, reactions to other dogs, reactions to distractions, and supervised separation.

Of course, to take the test, you first have to find an American Kennel Association-approved evaluator, and there are several that live on the Plateau. All information is available at


• Jim Grasley —

• Lanelle Warrick —

• Sheila Hetrick —


• Terri Kaluza —


• Britney Spoto —

• Petco No. 1238 — 253-862-1738 (and ask for the general manager)

Banned breeds that do not pass the Canine Good Citizen program are still subject to seizure, removal, euthanasia.

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