Would A Pit Bull Ban In Spokane Work?

SPOKANE — A group of concerned citizens are pushing for a Spokane city ordinance banning pit bulls from Spokane. There has been a lot of controversy and reaction, but would banning pit bulls even make a difference?

“I personally own American Pit Bull Terriers, which is the original pit bull and they’re very good,” says Allie Renar.

For two years, Renar has owned pit bulls. But a proposed ordinance could mean tougher regulations for her and other pit bull owners.

Carol Byrnes has been training dogs, including pit bull terriers, since 1978. Traditionally bred as fighting dogs, she says they’re misunderstood.

“The largest percentage are happy, fun loving, very smart dogs,” she says.

When given the American Temperament Test, 84 percent of pit bulls pass, compared to 82 percent of all other breeds.

But that hasn’t stopped breed bans in cities like Denver and Yakima. Denver’s dates back to 1989, after the city saw 20 pit bull attacks in five years. Now, it’s seen a drop in bites from 39 in 2005 to nine last year.

“The issue with pit bulls is because of they’re a big dog and they’re muscular, pit bulls, mastiffs, rottwielers, have more bodily harm when they bite,” says Dr. Brian Hunter of the Hunter Veterinary Clinic.

The pit bull bite can be lethal. A 20-year study from the Centers for Disease Control says pit bulls accounted for a third of dog bite-related fatalities.

But as for a city-wide ban, Renar says, not here.

“It’s unfair. No one should have to worry that their dog is going to be taken away and killed just because someone else is irresponsible,” she says.

Spokane’s city council says it’s researching state law and city code before making any decision. A group is also circulating a petition around town against the ban.