Debate on Yakima's pit bull ban heats up

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima is taking a fresh look at its ban on pit bulls. KIMA obtained the opinions from police and code enforcement arguing why the ban should remain, but what qualifiers could change if the ban is tossed.

Joseph's Vesk's cousin was attacked by a pit bull as a child.

"It was just a neighborhood dog and she ended up getting bit," said Vesk.

She had to have surgery and still has the scars to prove it. It's attacks like these that keep a negative reputation in association with the breed.

"I don't agree with it but I don't disagree with it," said Traci Wells from Yakima.

Yakima banned pit bulls in the late 80's. It's been reconsidering that decision, and both sides are making a strong case.

Yakima's Code Enforcement and Yakima police both firmly want the ban to remain. Knowing it could be lifted, they made some recommendations for that.

If the ban is lifted they have a list of requirements that city owners would have to follow keeping the dogs in the city limits.

That list would require pit bulls to wear a muzzle in public. The dogs must be kept in a kennel or behind a fence, and owners must carry a policy on liability insurance.

They're against moving to a dangerous dog ban. Those restrictions don't kick in until a dog bites someone. Yakima police see that as giving dogs a free bite.

"I think it's any dog out there, not just pit bulls," said Wells.

But the local Humane Society and some animal hospitals would like the ban removed. They think Yakima could safely have pit bulls by requiring home inspections for those adopting a pit, and special dog tags for the animals.

"Any dog can be vicious, it just depends on how it is raised," said Vesk.

Both sides making their last argument before council decides on the breed's future. Yakima City Council will review the newly submitted information during its meeting Tuesday night.