Before Tuesday, Kennewick's city code defined pit bull type dogs as potentially dangerous and that definition needed to be amended by January 1, 2020 to remain in compliance with a soon-to-be-enacted state law.

The law, House bill 1026, prohibits cities from declaring dogs as dangerous or potentially dangerous based on breed without a reasonable process for exempting individual dogs that pass a canine good citizen test.

At a Kennewick council meeting on Tuesday, city councilors repealed the current code and removed the designation for pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers and similar breeds of dogs.

Kennewick adopted its knee-jerk, breed-specific rules on pit bulls and other potentially dangerous dogs in the ‘80s amidst a wave of reports about injuries inflicted by dangerous dogs.
Pit bulls and other so-called "dangerous breeds" had to have special licenses and their owners had to comply with special rules, including muzzling dogs in public.

The 2019 Washington Legislature stepped in with a bill requiring cities with breed specific legislation (BSLs) to exempt dogs that can be certified as good canine citizens by the American Kennel Club or other organizations.

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