Target: Washington State Senator Guy Palumbo
Goal: Put an end to breed discrimination laws across Washington state.
Unfair breed-specific laws discriminating against pit bulls and other breeds labeled as “dangerous” could soon be permanently put to an end thanks to a new bill proposed in Washington. The bill, SB 5094, would prevent cities and communities from banning dogs or classifying a dog as being potentially dangerous simply because of its breed. While dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners should be addressed, targeting dogs based on their breed has proven to be neither effective nor humane. The result of BSL, where it has been implemented, has been an increase in the rate of euthanasia in shelters and an increase in pet homelessness as desperate owners felt forced to abandon their dogs or move.
Breed-specific laws are costly to enforce and are not consistently applied. Part of the issue involves the fact that these laws discriminate against dogs that “look” dangerous or resemble certain breeds. A brindle boxer that looks like a pit bull could potentially still be affected by breed discrimination and be confiscated or euthanized. These laws are also not supported by research, which has found that breed is not a significant factor in predicting whether or not a dog will behave aggressively. What science has shown is that a dog’s upbringing and socialization have far greater impacts on their behavior than their breed alone.
Breed-specific laws have resulted in heartbreak across the country where they have been enforced. Take for example a case in North Little Rock, Arkansas in 2016, where a pit bull managed to escape through the front door of her home. The animal was quickly rounded up by animal control and was euthanized on the basis of her breed alone. Pet owners should not have to fear that their animals will be killed simply because of the way that they look.
This new bill would go a long way to improving the lives of dogs and their owners, with lower rates of pet homelessness and euthanasia, and less stress for people looking for places they can live with their pets. Please take a moment to sign this petition and end breed discrimination once and for all in Washington state.
Dear State Senator Guy Palumbo,
Breed-specific legislation is unnecessary and has resulted in the deaths of far too many dogs. These laws have been widely discredited through study after study, which have all found that breed is not a significant contributing factor in determining whether or not a dog is “potentially dangerous.” Breed-specific laws create an unnecessary bias against certain dogs and are nearly impossible to enforce. No pet owner should have to make the heart-wrenching choice to move or keep their dogs, or fear that their animals could be seized simply because they look a certain way.
I support this bill, SB 5094, which would abolish breed-based discrimination in Washington State. Let’s stand up for dogs and responsible pet ownership and put an end to fear-based and ineffective regulations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Cristie Guevara