HB2117 would prohibit breed discrimination in Washington! Committee hearing set for Jan. 16

A bill has been introduced in the Washington state legislature that would prohibit considering the breed of a dog when declaring a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous.

Prefiled on December 10, 2013, HB2117 would prevent local jurisdictions from:  (1) prohibiting possession of a particular breed of dog; or (2) declaring a breed of dog to be dangerous or potentially dangerous.”

On January 13, 2014, the bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, and a hearing will be held before that committee on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.  The hearing will take place in House Hearing Room A, located in the John L. O’Brien Building on the state capitol campus in Olympia.

The bill states under “New Section”:

Sec. 1:  (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.

WASHINGTON RESIDENTS: Please reach out to your respective legislators, as well as the members of the House Judiciary Committee, and ask them to support HB 2117. Let them know that laws that target dogs based on their appearance rather than their behavior creates communities that are more vulnerable to dangerous dogs, not less. The passage of HB 2117 would mean cities and counties, in drafting animal control ordinances, would have to tackle the root cause of dangerous dogs, irresponsible and reckless dog owners, rather than pass a blanket law that regulates all members of specific breeds.

Please remember to keep all communications with legislators polite and respectful.  The manner in which we communicate with decision- makers can and does make a difference.

Washington residents can find their respective legislators here.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee:

Laurie Jinkins (Committee Chair): laurie.jinkins@leg.wa.gov
Drew Hansen: drew.hansen@leg.wa.gov
Jay Rodne: jay.rodne@leg.wa.gov
Terry Nealey: terry.neale @leg.wa.gov
Roger Goodman: roger.goodman@leg.wa.gov
Mike Hope: mike.hope@leg.wa.gov
Steve Kirby: steve.kirby@leg.wa.gov
Brad Klippert: brad.klippert@leg.wa.gov
Dick Muri: dick.muri@leg.wa.gov
Tina Orwall: tina.orwall@leg.wa.gov
Mary Helen Roberts: maryhelen.roberts@leg.wa.gov
Matt Shea: matt.shea@leg.wa.gov
Brady Walkinshaw: brady.walkinshaw leg.wa.gov

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