Friday Harbor, Washington May Consider Breed-Specific Ordinance

Feb. 24, 2011 update: Word is that BSL was voted down in Friday Harbor, 3-2.   That’s close, so folks please stay vigilant.

Editor’s note: It looks like a discussion of BSL is on the agenda for tomorrow’s council meeting:

If you’re in the area, you may want to attend.   Otherwise, please write the Friday Harbor Mayor and City Council here and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional. (Notice that on the town council’s page they have posted the same quote from Benjamin Franklin that we often use here: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I wonder if they know that the breed-specific ordinance that they’re considering would negate those very essential liberties that Franklin was talking about while ironically BSL wouldn’t even make residents of Friday Harbor safer.)

From the San Juan Journal:

Just how far theyre willing to go remains to be seen.

But the Friday Harbor Town Council made no bones about its intent to tighten up on town law and to clamp down on dangerous dogs, and on potentially dangerous ones as well.

At the councils request, town staff is expected to present a set of preliminary regulations for consideration when the council meets this Thursday, Jan. 20.  

Councilman Noel Monin said town law should contain some teeth and that the town will also need a means by which to enforce whatever rules and regulations the council eventually agrees upon.

I think whats called for are clear, well-defined punishments for people who our negligent with their animals, said Monin, who suggested a committee also be formed to gather public input before the council enacts any new regulations.

…Town attorney Adina Cunnigham said the council can adopt stricter standards than those of the county, as well as a lower threshold for determining whether a dog is dangerous, rather than potentially dangerous.

Councilwoman Maria De Freitas recommended the county’s law as a good starting point, but that its threshold may be too forgiving.

We need to sure whatever were doing matches the adequate criteria with protecting our citizens, she said. This threshold may be too low.

Read this article in its entirety here.

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