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Anti-breed discrimination bill hearing in Wash. state this week

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On Monday, Jan. 13, the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation announced details about a Washington state anti-breed specific legislation bill scheduled for Jan. 16.

The hearing on HB 2117 is scheduled before the House Judiciary Committee at 8:00 am on Thursday, Jan. 16.

The hearing will be located in House Hearing Room A in the John L. O'Brien Building on the state capitol campus in Olympia. See directions and a map of the capital campus here.

HB 2117 would prevent the use of a dog's breed as a factor in banning or classifying it as dangerous or potentially dangerous.

There are currently between two and three dozen cities in Washington state have ordinances discriminating against specific breeds.

Breed-specific legislation is expensive and difficult to enforce - and it also unfairly affect property rights and can lead to euthanasia of dogs with no history of dangerous or aggressive behavior.

The bill states:
(1) A number of local jurisdictions have enacted ordinances prohibiting or placing additional restrictions on specific breeds of dogs. While the legislature recognizes that local jurisdictions have a valid public safety interest in protecting citizens from dog attacks, the legislature finds that a dog's breed is not inherently indicative of whether or not the dog is dangerous and that the criteria for determining whether or not a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous should be focused on the dog's behavior.

(2)The legislature further finds that breed-specific ordinances fail to address any of the factors that cause dogs to become aggressive and place an undue hardship on responsible dog owners who provide proper socialization and training. The legislature intends to redirect the focus away from particular breeds and to instead encourage local jurisdictions to employ more effective and data-driven prevention models to control dangerous dogs and enhance public safety.

Please support this important bill that will help dogs and their guardians. Submit written testimony, testify at the hearing, or do both.

Try to attend the hearing and bring any associates or friends who support this bill.

Sign in at the hearing room and check the box indicating you support the bill (pro). You are not required to testify, but you may sign up to do so. If you do testify, keep your testimony respectful, to the point, and brief.

If you cannot attend the hearing and wish to submit comments by email, you may do so. Reference the bill's name (preventing breed-based dog regulations), number (HB 2117) and your name, address, and affiliation.

Keep your comments respectful and to the point.

You may direct your comments by email to members of the House Judiciary Committee:

Representatives Laurie Jinkins (Chair): laurie.jinkins @ leg.wa.gov
Drew Hansen: drew.hansen @ leg.wa.gov
Jay Rodne: jay.rodne @ leg.wa.gov
Terry Nealey: terry.nealey @ leg.wa.gov
Roger Goodman: roger.goodman @ leg.wa.gov
Mike Hope: mike.hope @ leg.wa.gov
Steve Kirby: steve.kirby @ leg.wa.gov
Brad Klippert: brad.klippert @ leg.wa.gov
Dick Muri: dick.muri @ leg.wa.gov
Tina Orwall: tina.orwall @ leg.wa.gov
Mary Helen Roberts: maryhelen.roberts @ leg.wa.gov
Matt Shea: matt.shea @ leg.wa.gov
Brady Walkinshaw: brady.walkinshaw @ leg.wa.gov

Animal advocacy organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) oppose BSL. The HSUS explains why Breed-Specific Legislation just doesn't work:

BSL misses the scope of the problem: Most breed-specific laws are created as a misguided response to a dog bite incident or attack. BSL does not protect citizens from dog bites for a number of reasons, including:

  • No breed is more dangerous than another.
  • BSL does not enhance public safety or reduce dog bite incidents.
  • Identifying breeds is often subjective and unreliable.

Animal advocates support finding effective strategies for safe, humane community dog management. Please make your voice heard for this important bill.

Committee hearings are subject to change. Before attending this hearing, please confirm that its time, date, and location have not been changed. You can view the committee's hearing schedule here.

About Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation (Save Washington Pets):
Save Washington Pets is the name of the campaign to pass companion animal spay/neuter assistance legislation in Washington State. It is a trade name of the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the passage and effective implementation of humane animal welfare laws, regulations, and policies in Washington State and to educate the public about animal welfare issues.

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