On August 14th, Miami-Dade voters will take to the polls for the Primary Election, with a very important question on the ballot: “Shall the ordinance repealing the county’s 23 year old law prohibiting ownership of pit bulls as a dangerous breed of dog become effective?”
Read: Repealing Miami’s Pit Bull Ban: Voters Will Decide
Pit Bull enthusiasts and dog lovers everywhere are sure to turn out to the polls in numbers, hoping to overturn the archaic law that murders dogs based on what they look like. As the county counts down days to the election, here are a few important tips for voters to know.
Murdered for looking a certain way. That’s what happened to Lennox, a beautiful family dog from Belfast, Ireland last week. A beloved member of the Barnes family, Lennox was seized two years ago for looking like a “Pit Bull type dog”- a dog deemed dangerous and illegal to posses in the U.K. due to BSL. Lennox had been licensed for 5 years but was suddenly deemed dangerous. Though DNA tests proved the majority of Len’s genetic breed make-up was American Bulldog, authorities and the Belfast City Council deemed otherwise. He looked like a Pit Bull, they said. After 2 years of legal battles, petitions, celebrities’ pleas and offers to adopt Len to a country where his look is permitted worked. The Belfast City Council murdered Lennox on July 11, 2012 without even letting his family say goodbye.
Though needlessly killed by people far more dangerous than himself, Lennox did not die in vain. Lennox is now an international symbol of justice for all dogs, a name that paints a personal story on the ugly face of BSL and undeniable proof that something must be done to stop the ignorance and save our dogs. If an animal can be murdered simply for looking a certain way, where have we come to as a society? What message are we sending, that we as humans cannot come up with a better solution than murder? BSL started because people wanted a solution to reduce dangerous dogs and stop dog attacks. But BSL does neither; it simply spends taxpayer dollars to murder dogs, like Lennox, who look the wrong way.
Stopping BSL is about more than saving Pit Bull type dogs; it’s about protecting all dogs by sending a message that no dog should be unfairly targeted due to his/her appearance.
Though breed specific legislation affects Pit Bull types most, many more innocent breeds fall victim to bans and restrictions. Check out the list below of 75 dog breeds that have been banned or restricted in the United States due to BSL laws, courtesy of Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States. It is important to note that not all of these breeds are restricted everywhere in the US. Various states, counties, towns and communities have all enacted certain bans or restrictions against specific breed types.
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?
As many readers, family and friends know, I am completely against BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) that bans “Pit Bull Dogs” in my community, Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida that bans Pit Bulls; an archaic law put in place over 20 years ago (1990). 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. Yep, even if your dog has a shred of resemblance to one of these breeds, they can be confiscated and euthanized. To learn more about BSL in Miami, click here to read one of my previous posts.