22 years after fatal attack, pit bull lovers insist Yakima’s breed ban should be lifted

Enforcement of the 30-year-old ban intended to make the city safer isn’t without controversy.

Denton says Romeo is her service animal, and she has filed a federal lawsuit seeking an order not only allowing her to bring her dog home, but challenging the legality of the breed-specific ban. According to her lawsuit, Denton says she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other issues and that Romeo keeps her from becoming incapacitated if she has an attack.

Animal law attorney Adam Karp of Bellingham, who is representing Denton, said the ban is overreaching, discriminatory and infringes on residents’ right to choose the breed of dog they want.

“If you look historically at the dogs who have been the poster child for instilling fear in the public, it once was the German shepard and it once was the Doberman,” he said. “It’s just wrong in so may respects that offend the Constitution.”

Dog experts say breed-specific bans clog shelters with dogs that are difficult to place in permanent homes and could exacerbate aggression by confining them with few opportunities for social interaction.
Photos: Pit bull dog breeds at the Humane Society
Pit bull dog breeds at the Humane Society Thursday, April 26, 2018. Shelter staff says they are the hardest to place in homes because only people living in areas outside the city where there isn’t a pit bull ban can adopt them. The shelter has housed many confiscated pit bulls through the years. In 2015, the impounded 70 pit bulls, 85 in 2016 and 90 last year. So far this year, the city impounded 25.