Advocates seek to soften pit bull ban in Yakima

Advocates seek to soften pit bull ban in Yakima
Pitbulls are not allowed in Yakima. The breed was banned decades ago.

But, now fans of pitbulls hope to soften the law. They plan to petition to change the rules. KIMA learned what it would do.

Pitbulls might be the world's most notorious dogs. Most people assume they're dangerous, turning on a loyal owner without being provoked.

Yakima banned pitbulls after a disabled man was attacked downtown back in the early 90's. Advocates think the ban is unfair. And innocent dogs are needlessly being put down.

"Someone can knock on my door, take them away and put them to sleep. That doesn't make any sense,” said Robyn.

Robyn didn't want to give her full name, but she's working with the pitbull advocacy groups. Together, they plan to petition City Council to toss the current ban.

"I don't see it being lifted. I know that people have sent petitions in and want to talk about it and they're saying it's not the breed, it's how they were raised,” Yakima Mayor Micah Cawley told Action News.

An unprovoked attack by a pack of pits almost killed two men several weeks ago near Central Salvage. Animal Control says the breed is behind most fatal dog attacks. But advocates insist a dangerous dog is a dangerous dog, no matter what kind of breed.

"Dangerous dogs are the ones that create unsafe neighborhoods or communities. And what we are looking for would be an effective way of enforcing a law that would be breed neutral,” said Wendy St. George, the executive director at the Yakima Human Society.

They believe a change to the law could target dangerous dogs more effectively. Yakima's mayor isn't convinced. He worries about a past history of over-breeding.

"That encourages people to then breed them for fighting and other things that you think wouldn't happen”, Cawley told us.

Selah, Wapato, and Pasco also have laws in place regarding pit bulls. These advocates hope to keep things safe without a blanket ban.

Softening this ban might include what animal control considers a pitbull. Mixed pits might be exempt if legislation drops or softens the ban. Officers say the ban has led to a decrease in the number of pitbulls seen and caught in Yakima.