New law ends breed-wide dog bans

At the Joint Animal Services shelter in Olympia, a pit bull mix named Cody caught the attention of James Wellings.

“I'm not really too worried about pit bulls. It depends on who is training them and how harshly they are treated.”

But because of the savage attacks documented in so many news stories, 27 Washington cities have banned or restricted pit bulls and other dangerous breeds.

But Tuesday, Gov Jay. Inslee signed a new law getting rid of blanket bans on breeds.

Poulsbo Rep. Sherry Appleton fought three years to pass it.

“People love these dogs. There wouldn't be so many mixes of pitties and other dogs, 22 million, if they were a problem.”

Ellen Taft testified against the legislation. She and her daughter have been attacked by dogs.

“In many of the municipalities where there are restrictions or outright bans on pit bulls, there are rural communities that have had trouble with dog fighting and it is easier to ban fighting breeds than it is to keep track of clandestine dog fighting.”

Instead of blanket bans, cities can instead require that dogs be tested for good temperament.

But Taft says that's not enough.

“Temperament tests have a high failure rate. They are not good predictors of dog behavior.”

Appleton owned a pit bull for years. She now has a Rottweiler.

Asked why she didn't favore leaving this up to localities as in the past, she responded. “Because it discriminates against families. If you go to move into a city, the 27 of them that ban pit bulls or pit bull mixes or dogs that look like pit bulls, then you are discriminating against the family because the family would like to move into your city.”

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