Politics & Government

Enumclaw City Council upholds city’s long-standing ban on pit bulls

The controversial ban on pit bulls in one King County city will remain.

Enumclaw is one of a handful of cities that bans pit bulls and the Enumclaw City Council was looking at an ordinance to end the ban Monday night.

After more than an hour of public comments, the city council voted unanimously to keep the ban. However, they left the door open for future repeal.

The council said it would discuss special rules for allowing pit bulls in the future, such as harsher punishments for the owners of dogs who attack or muzzles in public for all pits.

The city had decided to reconsider the ban, which has been in place for nearly 25 years.

Residents and members of the Olympic Kennel Club approached the city about the ordinance.

Therese Hitesman Kranz says the ordinance is keeping her daughter, who owns a pit bull, from moving to Enumclaw.

“It’s outdated, it’s discriminatory and it gets animals killed,” Kranz said of the current ban.

“The ordinance that’s proposed which encompasses all vicious dogs, rather than just the pit bull, would better protect our community,” added Kranz.

The Olympic Kennel Club supports lifting the ban.

The organization says it’s dog show is the sixth largest in the nation. It is held every August at the Enumclaw Expo Center.

While the show is able to get a waiver for “bully” breeds, president Charles Ruthford says pit bull owners usually stay away in protest.

“We’re against breed-specific bans,” said Rutherford, “they should have legislation that holds the owner responsible for the actions of their dangerous dogs.”

There is at least one group that plans to protest the lifting of the ban. At its helm is the mother of a little boy attacked by a pit bull in Seattle in 2006.

KIRO-TV has been doing its own research into whether pit bulls are really more dangerous than other breeds.

KIRO’s David Ham did an investigation in August and found pit bulls bite in King County more than any other breed.

Because more people own Labradors, the dog with the second most attacks, pit bulls are actually eight and half times more likely to bite than labs.

Animal control experts though have differing opinions on the danger of the breed.

“When we see a pit bull bite, most of the time it happens from a fight as opposed to a pit bull just trying to attack a person,” Brian Bowman with Pierce County Animal Control.

Other cities in Puget Sound have the ban, including Auburn and Buckley.