January 18, 2019
The Washington State House Committee on Public Safety considers a bill on Monday, Jan. 21, that is a first step towards prohibiting local jurisdictions from passing breed-specific legislation (BSL). Under the bill, however, Washington cities and counties will still be able to pass BSL if they provide an exemption to dogs that pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) or equivalent program.
Although AKC appreciates this compromise that recognizes the value of the CGC program and the opportunity for dogs to be exempt from breed-specific laws, we recognize this is only a first step. AKC still strongly encourages the state to eliminate BSL in its entirety.
Those who reside or participate in dog events in Washington are encouraged to contact the committee prior to the hearing and comment on House Bill 1026.
House Bill 1026 would allow localities to pass BSL, but only if they do all of the following:
1) Establish a reasonable process for exempting a dog from BSL if the dog passes the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program or equivalent,
2) Allow dogs that pass CGC or equivalent to be exempt from BSL for two years,
3) Give owners the opportunity to re-test to maintain their exemption, and
4) Give owners whose dogs fail the test the opportunity to re-test in a reasonable time period
The bill also includes language highlighting the inherent problems with breed-specific legislation.
The AKC appreciates that this bill recognizes the Canine Good Citizen program as the benchmark for well-behaved dogs and responsible ownership, and that it highlights the many problems and challenges associated with breed-specific laws. However, we oppose strongly oppose any type of BSL and encourage the legislature and Washington localities to consider joining the 19 other states that have eliminated these laws in their entirety.
BSL is dog profiling that discriminates against dogs based on their breed or appearance, not their behavior. For more talking points on this issue, visit the AKC Legislative Action Center’s breed-specific legislation key issues page.
What Can You Do?
If you reside or participate in dog events in Washington, let the committee know that you appreciate the attempt to restrict BSL and promote responsible dog ownership. Also encourage them to eliminate the ability of local jurisdictions to discriminate against dogs solely on their appearance.
Washington House Committee on Public Safety hearing
Monday, January 21, 2019
House Hearing Room D
John L. O’Brien Building
Washington State House Committee on Public Safety Committee Members:
Chair Roger Goodman
AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor this legislation and provide more information as it becomes available. For questions, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.