Yakima, WA: Study session set to discuss possible repeal of pit bull ban

The city of Yakima, Washington passed an ordinance banning “pit bulls” in 1987.   Like all breed specific ordinances, the law has proven to be difficult, if not impossible to enforce, and after 26 years, animal control officers continue to seize pit bull-type dogs because they are in the city illegally.

Yakima also has a generic dangerous dog ordinance which deems dogs as “dangerous” based on their behavior and actions.  The generic DDO allows animal control officers to restrict dogs that have shown signs of serious aggression, and the dogs that behave the most dangerously can be confiscated.  But even this ordinance is rarely used, and the four animal control officers say they are hard-pressed to keep up with strays and pit bulls.

At the September 17, 2013 city council meeting, several residents addressed the council on the numerous problems related to the enforcement and failure of the city’s ban.  The general consensus among those who spoke at the meeting was that the issue of a dog’s aggressiveness falls more on the owner and not the breed.

As a result, the Yakima City Council agreed to look into the possible repeal of the decades-old ban, and a study session is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

The council packet for the study session contains a variety of material, a great deal of which comes straight from the dogsbite.org website, including extremely graphic pictures, which is meant, of course, to play on emotions as opposed to reason.  In addition, the packet contains animal control statistics, ordinances and city memorandums.  Also within the council packet is a memorandum from Yakima Citizens Against BSL, position statements from organizations across the country opposing breed discriminatory ordinances, and several letters from residents and business owners asking the city to repeal its breed specific ordinance.

You can access the voluminous material to be discussed at this link:   Yakima Study Session Packet.  Please note, this is a large file and may take a minute to load.

A portion of the November 12, 2013 study session is designated for public comment.  If you are in the Yakima area, please try to attend the study session to show your support for repealing the 26-year-old discriminatory ordinance.  Even if you don’t plan on addressing the council members, your presence there will make a big impact on how important this matter is, and will serve to encourage those who are fighting hard to make positive change in Yakima.

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