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Legislature: Breed bans must have ‘good citizen’ exemption

April 17, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Finding out just who’s a good dog is set to become the responsibility of local jurisdictions under new rules on breed bans passed by the Legislature.

Passed by the Senate Wednesday on a 25-23 vote, the rules wouldn’t block breed bans entirely, but would require exceptions for owners who can prove their pets are well-behaved.

Often targeting larger, muscular breeds including Pitbulls and Rottweilers, bans have been an instrument of critics who say some breeds are innately dangerous.

The rules would allow owners to get around such bans based on completion of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen programs, which includes tests of whether an animal will react aggressively to strangers, being petted, and interacting with unfamiliar dogs.

Local jurisdictions would be allowed to enforce breed bans, but would have to exempt dogs that passed the test.

The proposal now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for consideration.

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