Testimony Opposing HB 1026
HB 1026 is a “mandatory exemption” law. Local jurisdictions can only enact breed-based laws if an exemption process is maintained that provides an exemption for restricted or banned breeds if the individual dog [pit bull] passes the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test or a reasonably equivalent canine behavioral test.
SENATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Portion of Testimony by Ellen Taft
Good morning my name is Ellen Taft. I would like to ask the Committee to please let science and statistics and the American Constitution guide your decision concerning HB 1026.
If you think the required temperament test stipulated in HB 1026 provides safeguards so that humans, pets and livestock can live peacefully can peacefully co-exist with band breeds that is not the case. If pit bull advocates really wanted safeguards they would have insisted long ago that all pit bulls and other banned breeds were muzzled. Functioning muzzles are full proof. Temperament testing at the best of times has a high margin of error.
Pit bulls were bred to suppress warning signals prior to aggression, as this was advantageous in the fighting ring, and to quote the bill’s sponsor, Sherry Appleton, we don’t know what triggers these dogs. How can you devise a temperament test if you don’t know the triggers? Again, these temperament tests will not be administrated by a governmental organization accountable to the taxpayer, but by a private organization accountable to dog owners and dog breeders. This is an extreme conflict of interest. HB 1026 does not call for drug testing for the dogs prior to the temperament tests. For example, in the equestrian world, drugs a regular drugs are regularly administered when horses are test ridden by potential owners to disguise the horses aggression and difficulty as unrideable horses. Dog tranquilizers are readily available now days, and there are no background checks on the owners.
HB 1026 removes mandatory insurance requirement on restricted and banned breeds that pass the canine good citizen tests. When one of these dogs attacks, taxpayers are very likely to pay the medical and vet bill. Again, we don’t allow dogfighting. Why do we allow fighting dogs? I think we should all question whether it is appropriate to attribute civil rights to animals. Attributing civil rights to animals diminishes human rights. It is not in the Constitution that animals have human rights. Also, I would like to say that — clarify something — the honorable Representative Appleton has misinformed you about Yakima. I was there for both hearings. You can check the Yakima Herald. The local humane society forced the repeal of the ban by threatening to stop all rescue operations in in Yakima. The vote was five to two and one of the Nay votes this was by a physician.
Thank you very much. I urge you to vote against this law and against this bill because it’s very poorly written. Thank you.