The citizens of Oak Harbor, Washington, should be very proud of their city council today. Thanks to their willingness to question facts, rather than just blindly accepting stories about killer Pit Bulls who eat babies, they’ve repealed breed specific legislation within Oak Harbor city limits.
From the Whidbey News Times –
Oak Harbor’s breed-specific ordinance went into effect in 2006 and required pit bull owners who live within city limits to house the controversial canines in a secure pen and muzzle the animals while on leash, among other restrictions. Pit bull owners who didn’t follow the ordinance ran the risk of having their dog impounded or earning a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, jail time up to 90 days, or both.
Now the animal control officer will rely on the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” chapter of the animal control ordinance that deals with animals based on behavior, not breed.
Before the council made their final decision, Councilman Jim Campbell questioned whether the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” chapter was enough to protect the citizens of Oak Harbor.
“We don’t need this because we have sufficient coverage in the one that we already have? Does it also have the hard rules for the owner that has a dog with biting habits?” he asked Police Chief Rick Wallace.
Wallace said yes, and proceeded to read from the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” ordinance that requires the owner of these dogs to keep the animals in a proper enclosure, post a visible warning sign that a dangerous dog is in the area, purchase a surety bond of at least $250,000 or a liability insurance policy, have the animal microchipped and register the dog with the city.
Councilwoman Beth Munns made the motion to repeal the breed specific ordinance, and Campbell seconded her motion. The council unanimously voted to support Munns’ motion, 6-0. Councilman Danny Paggao was not at the meeting.
Like many of us, I’ve heard the stories, but I’ve almost always dismissed them as fairy tales, on par with stories about Bigfoot, Chupucabras, and the Loch Ness monster. Little did I think that within my lifetime I’d get to hear about an actual, verified instance of a politician with working brain cells, one who asks questions, rather just blindly accepting all those stories about killer Pit Bulls.
And, Holy Hell! Their Chief of Police testified against breed specific laws! He didn’t rave about how it’s necessary to shoot all Pit Bulls on sight, or tell stories about babies being stolen from their cribs and eaten. Instead, he pointed out how the town’s existing, non breed specific laws already make more than adequate provisions for the control of dangerous dogs within city limits. Politicians AND cops with brains, in one single city? I know where I want to move to.
In a statement so shocking that I almost felt light headed on reading it, Oak Harbor city council said that they hope the repeal of the law will “decrease the number of pit bulls surrendered to island animal shelters, and possibly increase their rate of adoption”.
Oh, and look, a pig just flew overhead.