Target: Washington Representative Sherry Appleton
Goal: End breed discrimination in Washington state
Washington Representative Sherry Appleton recently proposed a bill that would prevent the use of a dog’s breed as a factor in classifying it as dangerous. Most states still have jurisdictions that place restrictions on specific breeds. Not only does this dramatically increase the rate of euthanasia in shelters, it also makes it difficult for owners of these breeds to find homes or even jobs. Passing a statewide law prohibiting this kind of discrimination is a significant step in the right direction and deserves our support.
House Bill 2117 states 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.” Not only is breed-specific legislation expensive and nearly impossible to enforce, it also affects property rights, and results in the euthanasia of dogs with no history of aggressive behavior. One of the many unfortunate side effects is that it forces residents to live in undesirable or inconvenient locations, which can make it difficult to find or keep a job that doesn’t require an excessive commute.
The appalling effects of breed discrimination were recently witnessed in the story of a pit bull named Lennox. Pit bull terrier-type dogs are illegal in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Lennox was taken from his family after the law was passed. His family fought for two years to get him back, during which time, he was imprisoned and kept from his family. Despite years of litigation and outrage all over the world, Lennox was still euthanized. He had no history of aggressive behavior.
If HB 2117 is passed into law, Washington would be the first state to successfully ban breed discrimination and other breed-specific legislation, removing an incredible burden to both residents and their pets.
Please take a moment to sign the petition below and support this landmark bill.
Dear Representative Appleton,
You recently sponsored House Bill 2117, which would prevent breed discrimination and other breed-specific legislation throughout the state of Washington. This is the first bill of its kind and one that is absolutely necessary to the happiness and welfare of both Washington’s citizens and its pets.
Breed discrimination costs thousands of dogs their lives each year and makes it incredibly difficult for residents to find homes and jobs. It is an unnecessary bias that has done far more harm than good over the years. I fully support this bill and hope that Washington will soon see a day when its dogs are judged by their behavior and not by their breed.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: maplegirlie via Flickr