City officials seeing falsified applications to have pit bulls as service dogs

City officials seeing falsified applications to have pit bulls as service dogs »Play Video

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima admits more people are lying their way into getting pit bulls allowed in the city.

Yakima recently allowed the breed only as a service animal. And, in just the last few weeks pits that are definitely not service animals have attacked multiple people and killed a cat.

The city says there isn't much they can do. It's been a growing concern for the city of Yakima.

Pit bulls are banned in city limits, but there is a recent loophole. The American Disabilities Act says pit bulls can be service dogs. So, the city has guidelines for those who have say their pit meets that designation.

"You're supposed to have a muzzle and it's supposed to be in an enclosure if you're leaving it alone outside," city codes manager Joe Caruso. 

Less than a month ago a Yakima woman had her pit bull approved as a service dog. She claimed it had proper training. A cat came into the yard and was killed.

While this could have happened with any breed of dog, it exposed the fact that the dog was not muzzled and not enclosed. When pressed, the pit bull owner admitted she had lied and her dog never had any service animal training.

"Is that frustrating?" KIMA asked.
"It's very frustrating," Caruso responded.

You may wonder how people can get away with this. Easily.

ADA guidelines say city officials can ask two questions. If the dog has had service dog training, and what service functions the dog serves. The city cannot ask for proof.
"There's nothing really we can do," Caruso said.

It's the second pit bull considered a service animal that was involved in an attack in the last month. The other dog escaped and bit three people.

"Both owners did not tell the truth and now one dog was euthanized two and a half weeks ago and now this dog will be banned from the city of Yakima," Caruso said.

The city now plans to ask service dog owners to sign a form that says they are being honest and will not commit perjury. If they do, criminal charges could be filed.

So why does the ADA prevent the city from asking for proof of training? KIMA tried to get that answer but my calls to the Department of Justice were not returned.

The dog that killed the cat must stay out of city limits until its case is heard in court. The pit bull is not at risk of being put down because it didn't attack a person.