Let's Change This: Breed-Ban Laws in Washington

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It's time to use our voices and make change happen to help protect the welfare of animals. For Washington residents, this issue has major implications for you and your voice can go a long way in creating positive change for dogs.
Here's what is happening:

Currently in Washington state, any local government can create an ordinance to ban any breed of dog at any time. Wow, seems unreal, right? Sadly, it's true. If you don't think cities and towns are actually banning breed-specific dogs, think again, it's actually happening. Currently, 25 cities and towns in Washington state ban at least 1 breed of dog. The most common banned breed? Pit bulls. However, some even ban Akitas, Mastiffs, and Bulldogs.

Here's the real gut-puncher...if local government officials (ie, the police) catch a resident with a banned breed in one of those cities/towns, they can mandate that the owner surrender the pet to a local shelter, re-home the pet, or surrender the pet to the police.

If you think that these dogs just simply get re-homed, think again. With such numbers of shelter overpopulation, these dogs are often put-down. An owner of a banned breed has 24 hours to get rid of the pet. How horribly awful is that? Imagine owning a dog for five years, and then the city or town you live in, in Washington, passes an ordinance that bans the breed of dog you have? You can either sell your house, change jobs, and move to another city or state that doesn't ban your dog's breed, or surrender your dog to the local pound or a new home.

Why It Matters:

First, This is not a dilemma that dog owners should EVER have to face. However, the way the current law is written, it could become a realty for many dog owners. Just because Pit Bulls are currently targeted for banned breeds doesn't mean other breeds won't be targeted by lawmakers someday.

Second, lawmakers shouldn't be allowed to tell someone what kind of dog to have, or worse, to surrender a dog someone already owns. The problem with breed ban laws is that these laws fail to address the core problems. Usually these bans are passed in cities or towns were a dog bite or attack occurred. The problem is that dog bites are usually instigated by other circumstances (ie, a child pulling on a dogs tail, a dog that has been mistreated by their owner, etc). If a dog bite or attack happens, then that single incident needs to be addressed and handled properly, with all factors being considered. However, a blanket law that bans all dogs of that breed is ridiculous and not at all the correct solution.

How You Can Help: