Changes made to Pasco laws for ‘potentially dangerous dogs’

The City of Pasco is now making it a little easier to own “potentially dangerous dogs.”

On Monday night, city council members approved changes to their dog breed laws. Right now, residents are allowed to own a pit bull, which is automatically deemed a potentially dangerous dog under breed-specific legislation (BSL).

To comply with a House bill taking effect next month, they needed to add a provision. Dog owners now have another option for their dog to take an American Kennel Club good canine test. City officials say before the addition, only one test was available.

“This essentially gives the public more options, and the Pasco residents additional options to go get their animals tested, should it be required,” said Zach Ratkai, Community Services Director for the City of Pasco.

Advocates against breed-specific legislation filled the council chambers, urging city council members to completely get rid of the laws.

In a previous interview, pit bull advocate Ashley Schoenwald told KAPP-KVEW that Pasco city council members reached out to her after Kennewick got rid of BSL. Much of Pasco’s BSL is similar to Kennewick’s codes, but a $250 annual permit fee is also added to the list of requirements for “owners of potentially dangerous dogs.”

No decisions about getting rid of BSL were made Monday night, but council members listened to everyone who came to the meeting about the legislation.

“My take on this is that the public understood that this was a state-mandated change to our codes,” Ratkai said. “Our City Council is very open to investigating and doing further research and discussion into the issue in the coming year.”

Ratkai said another change to the law is the frequency of testing. Dogs who fail the “good canine test” are allowed to take it again.

It’s not clear exactly when City Council will discuss BSL again.