Is a Compromise Reasonable?
Moses Lake, WA - After the brutal pit bull attack on Alex Medina, the City of Moses Lake has created a committee to find a "compromise" acceptable to community residents and pit bull owners in regards to keeping pit bulls within the city limits. This is an honorable goal and one that ought to be rationally sound. The problem is, pit bull advocates usually do not find "any" pit bull regulation acceptable. They typically oppose each and all of the following:
- Mandatory registration
- Mandatory microchipping
- Mandatory spay/neuter
- Mandatory muzzling when off property
- Mandatory special containment facility
- Mandatory liability insurance (of any amount)
- No adopt out shelter policy
Recently, Moses Lake City Council heard public input about a pit bull ban. Given the size of Moses Lake (about 18,000), a ban is a good option. Moses Lake is also situated between Yakima, which has a pit bull ban, and Spokane, which may adopt one. The nearby cities of Royal and Othello also have bans. Cities that are close to towns with bans must always consider the influx of new pit bull owners who leave banned areas to set up shop in nearby towns.
Some Washington cities have created ordinances that declare pit bulls as "potentially dangerous" or "dangerous." This is also a good option for Moses Lake. These cities include: Auburn, Everett, Kennewick, Pasco, Prosser and others. The city of Auburn took matters a step further by declaring all "fighting breeds" potentially dangerous. Washington cities can define what qualifies as "potentially dangerous" by modifying RCW 16.08.090.
Meeting attendees were most upset that the pit bull that attacked Alex "forced its way through the fence (Alex was in his own fenced yard) and attacked the boy unprovoked." Pit bulls consistently scale 6 foot fences and chew through cages to reach their victims. Secure confinement must always be part of a pit bull ordinance, as should mandatory liability insurance. It's hard to imagine that Alex's medical costs will fall under a half million dollars.
11/09/09: Collection of Pit Bull Scalp Attack Victims - DogsBite.org
09/17/08: Pit Bulls Send Second Victim to Harborview Trauma Center in One Week
09/10/08: 2 Pit Bulls Killed After Mauling 71-Year Old SeaTac Woman