A bill has been pre-filed in Washington state that would prevent municipalities from enacting breed discriminatory laws.
The bill, House Bill 2117, was pre-filed for introduction on December 10th, 2013 by Sherry Appleton.
The bill is to amend portions of the state’s dangerous dog statutes, in order to prevent municipalities from being able to enact breed discriminatory laws on the local level.
The introduction to the bill reads as follows:
(1)A number of local jurisdictions have enacted ordinances prohibiting or placing additional restrictions on specific breeds of dogs. 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 the 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.
(2) The legislature further finds that breed-specific ordinances fail to address any of 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 redirect the focus away from particular breeds and to instead encourage local jurisdictions to employ more effective and data-driven prevention models to control dangerous dogs and enhance public safety.
It is not clear at this time how the issues of home rule or grandfather clauses will be addressed.
In 2013 there were 3 states that passed bills that prohibit breed discriminatory laws. These laws passed with overwhelming support from legislators and received overwhelming support from residents of those states.
It is well documented that a multi-faceted community based approach to dangerous dogs is far more effective than breed discriminatory laws. These types of laws protect the property rights of responsible owners and require that the issue of dangerous dogs be looked at comprehensively.
Washington state residents: Please reach out to your Senators and Representatives and respectfully ask them to support this bill. It is important for residents to be involved in the legislative process and voice their support of such bills. Legislators cannot act on their constituents interests if they are not expressed.
You can find your legislator via the states website here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/