Repealing Miami’s Pit Bull Ban: Voters Will Decide


When it comes to repealing Miami-Dade’s longstanding ban on Pit Bull dogs, County Commissioners have decided to let the residents vote on the issue. On August 14th, voters will be asked a very confusing and biased question: “Shall the ordinance repealing the county’s 23 year old law prohibiting ownership of pit bulls a dangerous breed of dogs become effective?

The Commissioners do not want the repeal to pass: it’s why they put it to a public vote and worded it that way. The question is intended to confuse people and associates the word “dangerous” with Pit Bull. And in a county where fear of Pit Bulls is everywhere, will voters choose to repeal the ban?

Now, the responsibility falls to those who think all breeds should be welcome in Miami-Dade– those in favor of ending this antiquated, ineffective law. My regular readers know I do not support BSL and would love nothing more to end it in my county. Here’s why:

→BSL or Breed Specific Legislation does not work. Here is an excerpt from a study by the National Canine Research Council. Thanks to J. Thomas of stopbsl.org for posting it.

  • For example, in order to prevent a single hospitalization resulting from a dog bite, the authors calculate that a city or town would have to ban more than 100,000 dogs of a targeted breed. To prevent a second hospitalization, double that number. Dog-bite related fatalities are so extremely rare that not even a state could ban enough dogs to insure that they had prevented even one.

→A breed does not make a dog “dangerous”; unfortunately, some people train dogs to be dangerous. People should be held responsible for their dogs, no matter what breed. States and counties that have implemented breed-neutral laws, placing responsibility on owners have seen decreases in dog attacks and dangerous dogs while places with BSL, like Miami-Dade, have no reduction in dog attacks or dangerous dogs.

→Miami’s BSL targets “Pit Bull dogs”. According to Section 5-17.1 in Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances, a Pit Bull Dog is any dog that “substantially conforms to the standards established by the American Kennel Club” for the following breeds: American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers or any other dog that displays characteristics of these breeds. Even a dog with a shred of resemblance could be targeted and incorrectly labeled as a Pit Bull type dog.

→Miami-Dade taxpayers (me!) spend $3 million a year enforcing BSL. This includes costs for employment of officers, investigations, confiscations and extermination of the poor dogs who go into the shelter because they were confiscated from their owners. Many of them are family dogs.

→Breed misidentification is a big problem and many dogs who are not Pit Bulls fall victim to the ban and are killed. Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS) is responsible for enforcing the county’s ban and employees identify “Pit Bull dogs” from this PDF “description sheet”. The scary thing is, a dog only has to have one or two of these characteristics to be incorrectly labeled. Human error also plays a large part; if he looks like a Pittie to the employee processing him, he’s automatically labeled, no questions asked.

I rescued both Scarlett and Chelsea from MDAS; Scarlett was labeled a Labrador Retriever and Chelsea was labeled a German Shepherd mix.

Our “Labrador Retriever” Scarlett

Our full-grown “German Shepherd” mix, 28 lb. Chelsea

Supporters of ending the Pit Bull ban are advocating like crazy and will continue to do so until August 14th, when voters will take to the polls. It is up to dog lovers to educate the community about these lovable breeds that get a bad reputation and dispel the false stereotype that has been propelled by both the media and the breed ban itself. That’s a tall order!

One way I plan to raise awareness. My new license plate cover should be here by Friday 🙂

Miami-Dade residents, I urge you to VOTE YES on this important issue and end the murder of thousands of Pit Bulls, mixes and those that resemble Pits in our county every year. Spread awareness by voicing the issue with friends and colleagues, posting photos and reminders on social media and reminding everyone to get registered and to vote.

CLICK HERE to learn how to register to vote in Miami-Dade County. You must be registered 30 days before the election (on or before July 14th) to vote in this election.

CLICK HERE to visit Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation on Facebook and get free awareness banners and photos to display on your profile or website and start raise awareness now! Here’s the banner on my Facebook page:

There is no denying this is a very controversial issue and we want to hear from you! Do you think Miami-Dade should end the breed ban? More importantly, do you think voters will?

Read Previous Posts

Florida Legislative Season Over: HB997 & SB1322 Dead

Repealing the Pit Bull Ban in Miami

If Pit Bulls Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Own Pit Bulls

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22 responses to “Repealing Miami’s Pit Bull Ban: Voters Will Decide

  1. Spot on. Pit bull bans don’t work. We have had a ban for years in Victoria and it has had no impact on rates of dog attacks.

    • Thank you. They never work and though it’s been proven time and time again, some communities still keep it around. I think it’s very sad.

  2. The question has been worded in a very biased way. Another example of insidious manipulation by the ‘Man’ 😦

    • The question is not only biased, it’s confusing as hell! Bassa, you are completely right. They had bills in motion to repeal the ban and it was expected the Florida House and Senate would approve. Florida’s state law prohibits any municipalities in FL to enact BSL laws yet makes an exception for Miami. The reason Florida doesn’t allow it? They say: it’s not cost effective and it doesn’t work. Miami-Dade Commissioners derailed the bills and said this was a local matter and the state had no right to dictate what was right for the county. It just does not make sense…

  3. I wonder how this will turn out? You have raised some great points in your post. The biggest problem I have with BSL, breeder/puppy mill regulation, or really any animal regulation, is the cost it places on the jurisdictions which enact them vs the benefit they derive. The city I live in enacted some strict regulation as to the number of dogs a resident could own, (along with other regulations), and it nearly bankrupted the city. They finally repealed the regs.

    While I’m complaining…why do I have to pay more for my license because my dogs are not desexed? If the purpose is to make sure dogs in our county have rabies shots, it hardly makes sense. I guess what I am trying to say is that often times well meaning regulations can take on a life of their own because for most people, it is OK unless the regs are aimed at them.

    One other thing you sort of mentioned is shelter/rescues which try to id breed mixes. I have always had an issue with this because they are so often wrong and it can lead to problems down the road for the dog. I know people who ended up with a mix whose temperament was not what they bargained for. Now why is that not regulated? Can you imagine the outcry if a breeder of purebred dogs misrepresented a dog they sold?

    Not of these “laws” make sense to me.

    • Thank you, I agree with you! I don’t think Miami has any right to enact BSL, completely wasting taxpayer dollars. We also have a limit of dogs a resident can have but it’s loosely enforced. One of my biggest problems is the misidentification of these breeds and mixes of breeds! They urge people to look at the PDF and report people who have Pitties, telling them “Pit Bulls are a dangerous breed of dog”. Nevermind that Pit Bull is not even a breed! There is no such thing as a dangerous breed of dog however dangerous people seem to be everywhere…

  4. I agree that BSL is wrong and owners should be held accountable for their dogs. People are uneducated about dogs in general and there are so many people who use/raise and breed dogs for the wrong reasons. In true American fashion the actions of a few spoil things for the many.

    The problem as I see it is we have a small portion of people making decisions for the many. So there are 25 members of the Miami Dade County legislation and they are making the decisions for over 2 million people. How do they think they have a handle on the real issues affecting the population?

    The word ‘dangerous’ should be removed from the wording of the question, it is simply their way of skewing the issue to try and have the result be what they want it to be.

    Some of the sweetest dogs on the planet are pit bulls or pit bull mixes. What a damn shame more people can’t see that.

    • Thanks Jodi. Pibbles and Pit mixes are such amazing dogs but I guess it’s because I’ve been around them. I think it is easy to form opinions based on hype and I wish more people would get to know them first. When they’re outlawed, only outlaws have them — that is never a good thing. When all breeds are welcome in Miami, responsible owners will be allowed to have them and I think that will make all the difference.

  5. Hey it’s Jet here. Hi Miss Deanna.

    Mom posted your blog link on facebook and will email it to BEST FRIENDS animal sanctuary. She wanted me to let you know how well written your post is… 🙂

    • Hey Jet! Tell your Mom THANK YOU! We love when people help us spread the word about this very important issue! I honestly can’t stand to see when Pitties or mislabeled Pits at MDAS are dragged to their death for no fault other than conforming to a breed. It hurts especially bad when there are awesome families in the county who want to adopt them but can’t. We are hoping that Miami gets with the program and does the right thing!!!

  6. Not only is it confusing, it’s also very suggestive when it inserted the term “dangerous” in there. So crafty of them.
    They should focus more on going after those who operate dogfighting betting rings. Now those are the ones who should be hauled off and incarcerated.

    • Tita, I wish they would do that. They are so underfunded and understaffed, they can’t look into serious animal cruelty charges they should. It’s a shame. I think Miami-Dade could use the $3 million they waste every year on productive causes like prosecuting those who abuse, fight, and neglect their animals.

  7. I wanna know where you got the license plate frame. . . I want one!

  8. Pingback: 75 Dog Breeds Banned/Restricted Due to BSL | For The Love of My Dogs

  9. Pingback: We Are Lennox | For The Love of My Dogs

  10. I want to know if anybody knows where the voting will take place.

  11. Pingback: Repealing Miami’s Pit Bull Ban: Voter Checklist | For The Love of My Dogs

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