News

Rules eyed for when dogs go wild

By PHILIP PALERMO

The Mirror

Officials are looking at several options in Federal Way’s attempts to craft regulations on potentially dangerous or aggressive dogs.

The City Council’s Parks/Recreation and Public Safety Committee discussed the issue at its March 13 meeting. Included in that meeting were articles and statistics both supporting and discrediting claims that certain breeds of dogs are inherently dangerous.

“We are certainly thinking about ways we can protect the public and other dogs and animals in the city,” said Councilman Jim Ferrell, a member of the committee.

Ferrell said the committee is scheduled to discuss the issue further at its May 8 meeting at 6 p.m. in the Hylebos conference room at City Hall.

“We’re really exploring a range of options,” he said, adding some possibilities include increasing fines.

The committee, he said, hopes to figure out ways that would have prevented what happened to Toney Mikesell’s pugs, who were killed by a neighbor’s pit bulls.

Federal Way isn’t the only city in the area dealing with the issue of aggressive dogs. In February, the Auburn City Council approved new rules requiring owners of dogs deemed potentially dangerous to register their animals with the city.

The new Auburn law applies to dogs either fully or partially of certain breeds or with physical similarities to certain breeds. The affected breeds include the Akita, American Staffordshire terrier and Tosa Inu.

Auburn residents who violate the new law could face misdemeanor charges.

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis has received one negative comment about the new law from residents. “Everything else has been positive,” he said.

Dog owners, he said, are complying with the new rules as they are made aware of the changes.

“It’s going to take some time. So far it’s gone very well,” Lewis said, adding Auburn officials will monitor how much of an affect the regulations have on dog attacks.

Ferrell said Auburn’s approach may not be the direction Federal Way takes.

“Our experience is different than Auburn’s,” he said, adding Auburn police officers have been forced to shoot at aggressive dogs in the past.

On Jan. 17 in Federal Way, Mikesell found the bodies of two pugs owned by he and his girlfriend in their back yard. The pets had been killed by a neighbor’s three pit bulls, which were later euthanized by King County Animal Control.

At a council meeting in February, Mikesell asked the city to regulate pit bull ownership. Other citizens have spoken against laws governing specific breeds of dogs.

Staff writer Philip Palermo: 925-5565, ppalermo@fedwaymirror.com

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