Saturday, March 21, 2009
Wapato, WA - Over the summer, the City of Wapato passed a breed-specific law that banned dangerous breeds including: pit bulls and mastiffs. At the time of the ban, owners of these breeds had the opportunity to register their dog and undergo specific training in order to continue to keep their dogs. Mayor Jesse Farias reports that since the ban was enacted: "Only one person has sent their dog to do the training and filed the necessary paperwork."
Turns out, the owners of potentially dangerous dogs are also the least responsible.Instead of being "responsible" dog owners, owners of banned breeds have taken to hiding their dogs -- keeping them off the streets. Often when cities pass breed-specific laws, authorities "enforce as they go" (See related FAQ sheet). For instance, after a citizen reports a violation, authorities respond and issue citations to the dog owner. The citations and possible subsequent impoundment of the dog are directly due to irresponsible dog owners.
Nine months into the ban, police say that calls about vicious dogs have been cut in half. The Wapato Police said they've gone from 18 reports in January, February and March of last year to seven so far in '09. "That's nothing," says Chief Richard Sanchez, Wapato Police Department. Sanchez credits local cooperation for the decline of dangerous dogs. He says that pit bull protection depends upon citizens calling in about violations.
06/26/08: After Ban in 2005, Council Bluffs Sees Fall In Pit Bull Attacks
06/19/08: Lower Valley Town of Wapato Adopts Pit Bull Ban
03/02/08: Ontario Pit Bull Ban Greatly Reduces Bite Count
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| 3/22/2009 4:44 AM |
Maybe the reports have gone down in number because dangerous dog owners intimidate people that what to report a dangerous dog after an incident. I know this happens in other places. They shouldn't rely on citizens willing to put their life at risk to report a dangerous dog but actively look for those dogs.
| 3/22/2009 12:15 PM |
Please understand: It is a two-way street for reporting Dangerous Dogs, particularly in a city the size of Wapato (appx 2,000). The city does not have resources to employ an Animal Control department. So the responsibility of answering to dangerous dogs lies solely on the police department's shoulders. As the police chief comments in the article, "the Chief says his officers aren't the dog patrol, so local Pitbull protection really depends on citizens calling in about violations."
Community Blockwatch associations have been around for decades for the purpose of helping police protect communities. The police cannot be everywhere at once. Blockwatch and Crimewatch programs require active members of the community reporting crimes to neighborhood members and the police.
| 3/22/2009 6:03 PM |
The reports have gone down in number because the attacks by pit bulls have gone down!
The pit bull owners have either moved, given their dogs to someone outside the town, or are actually being forced to be responsible and keeping control of their dogs because they know that the second they get caught with an unlicensed pit and an attacked person, they are in deep trouble.
Bans DO work, whether they actually register or not.
| 3/23/2009 12:10 AM |
No doubt the attacks have gone down! GOOD THING they are keeping their pits inside their home (or have moved them out of town) instead of letting them wander the streets -- this is the very point of breed-specific laws.
It is by their own FAILURE of being responsible to begin with that has forced a city to enact such a law.