After months of lobbying by animal advocates, the Yakima, Washington City Council will, on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, hold a study session to consider repealing Yakima’s 26-year-old pit bull ban. In lieu of the long-standing breed-specific legislation (BSL), it is hoped that Yakima will consider a dangerous dog (owner) law instead.
Yakima has, since 1987, banned what they call “dangerous breeds of pit bulls,” which their city code defines as,
Pit bull dog means any pit bull terrier. Pit bull terrier means any American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier so as to be identifiable as partially of the breed American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier. (Ord. 2004-32 § 1, 2004: Ord. 2001-32 § 1, 2001: Ord. 98-27 § 1, 1998: Ord. 3034 § 1 (part), 1987).
Do you see how referring to pit bull breeds, as in plural, is confusing? Some define pit bull “breeds” as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers only. Others, like Yakima, throw in breeds like American Bulldogs. Still others consider Boxers pit bulls. And on and on it goes.
The point is, a pit bull can be anything you want it to be, which is why the dog lobby so often says that pit bull is not a breed. The slang term pit bull refers to a type; one that can encompass countless breeds, their mixes, and lookalikes, rendering statistics on so-called pit bulls skewed and therefore meaningless.
And because pit bull is a type and not a breed, it is well known that this part of Yakima’s definition of pit bull is wholly unenforceable:
. . . any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier so as to be identifiable as partially of the breed American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier.
Under Yakima’s definition of a pit bull, what is no more than a Boxer mixed-breed will be considered a pit bull too because the “identifiable” part has historically been reliant upon no more than an Animal Control Officer’s subjective opinion, which, as Denver’s pit bull ban has shown, is wildly inaccurate.
Because of the built-in unfairness of breed-specific legislation, tomorrow, November 12, 2013, Yakima City Council members will convene to consider Yakima’s 26-year-old ban on pit bulls: whether to keep it as is, loosen its requirements, or repeal the ban entirely. Animal advocates are asking to have the ban removed entirely because, as I’ve already demonstrated, BSL in any form is unenforceable and unfair as even the White House now acknowledges.
Indeed, it is well past time to replace Yakima’s pit bull ban with a dangerous dog (owner) law because there is no breed pit bull and no scientific proof that any one breed of dog is inherently dangerous or vicious. There are, however, dangerous dog owners — who are in the extreme minority compared to the majority of dog owners who are responsible with their dogs — who will be irresponsible with their dogs no matter what breed of dog they own.
One response to “Yakima, Washington Will Consider Pit Bull Ban Repeal”
Why do people insist on blaming the breed and not the idiot who does not secure, or control their dog. Any breed when left to run loose or chained or mistreated can become aggressive. If you had decent animal control, people who cared, and decent abuse laws you would not have a problem!