Bill Seeks to Prevent Breed-Specific Dog Policy (BSL) in Washington – Voice Support Now!

Senate Bill 5094 includes legislative findings that state that a dog’s breed is not inherently indicative of whether or not a dog is dangerous, and that the criteria for determining whether or not a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous should be focused on a dog’s behavior.

Washington Senate Bill 5094 seeks to prevent breed-based dog regulations.  Because the bill is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Local Government Committee on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) encourages all Washington residents to contact the members of the Senate Local Government Committee and express support of this important legislation.

Senate Bill 5094 includes legislative findings that state that a dog’s breed is not inherently indicative of whether or not a dog is dangerous, and that the criteria for determining whether or not a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous should be focused on a dog’s behavior.  Additionally, findings also state that breed-specific ordinances fail to address any of the factors that cause dogs to demonstrate problematic behavior, and place an undue hardship on responsible dog owners who provide proper socialization and training.  The legislature future encourages local jurisdictions to employ more effective and data-driven prevention models to control dogs determined to be dangerous. 

SB 5094 specifically:

  • Amends the state’s definitions of “potentially dangerous dog” and “dangerous dogs” to include qualifications that those shall apply to dogs who demonstrate certain measurable behaviors “without regarding to the breed of the dog”. 
  • Specifically provides that “the breed of dog may not be considered when declaring a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous”, and further limits local jurisdictions from prohibiting possession of a particular breed or from declaring a particular breed as dangerous or potentially dangerous. 

The American Kennel Club’s position on dangerous dog control legislation is clear:  We support reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs.  The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs.  We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous.  We believe that, if necessary, dogs proven to be “dangerous” may need to be humanely destroyed.  The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be “dangerous” based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs. 

Because the provisions of SB 5094 adhere to the breed-neutral principles promoted in AKC’s position statement on dangerous dog control legislation, the AKC supports SB 5094 as introduced. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
The AKC encourages all Washington residents to contact the members of the Washington Senate Local Government Committee and express support of Senate Bill 5094.

State Senator Brian Dansel, Committee Chair
PHONE: (360) 786-7612
EMAIL: Brian.Dansel@leg.wa.gov

State Senator Dean Takko, Ranking Minority Member
PHONE: (360) 786-7636
EMAIL: Dean.Takko@leg.wa.gov

State Senator Jan Angel
PHONE: (360) 786-7650
EMAIL: Jan.Angel@leg.wa.gov

State Senator Guy Palumbo, SB 5094 Sponsor
PHONE: (360) 786-7600
EMAIL: Guy.Palumbo@leg.wa.gov

State Senator Tim Sheldon
PHONE: (360) 786-7668
EMAIL: Timothy.Sheldon@leg.wa.gov

Washington residents are also strongly encouraged to testify in support of SB 5094 at the Tuesday, January 17, 2017, meeting of the Washington Senate Local Government Committee.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:30PM in Senate Hearing Room 4 in the J.A. Cherberg Building, 301 15th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98504.  Click here to read How to Testify in Committee. 

For more information on Senate Bill 5094, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or email doglaw@akc.org.   

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