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American Dog Owners Association v. The City of Yakima

113 Wash. 2d 213, 777 P.2d 1046 (1989)

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American Dog Owners Association v. The City of Yakima

Washington Supreme Court

113 Wash. 2d 213, 777 P.2d 1046 (1989)

Facts

In 1987, the City of Yakima (defendant) banned residents from owning pit bulls after three citizens were attacked by pit bulls. The ordinance prohibited bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and any dog identified as a type of pit bull. The city provided illustrations to help residents identify which breeds of dog were prohibited. However, before animal-control officers were authorized to remove any dogs, the city was required to show that the dog was at least six-months old, the owner knew that the dog was a prohibited breed, and the dog was identifiable as a pit bull. Residents owning pit bulls prior to the enactment of the ordinance were allowed to retain ownership of their dogs by complying with certain rules. The American Dog Owners Association (association) (plaintiff) sued the city on behalf of its members who owned prohibited dogs. David Carvo, Mark Johnson, and Bonnie Johnson (plaintiffs), who all owned prohibited dogs, also sued the city. The association and dog owners claimed that the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and motioned for summary judgment. The city also motioned for summary judgment on the ground that the ordinance was constitutional. The trial court granted the city’s motion. The association and dog owners appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dolliver, J.)

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