Pit Bull Ban Won't Be Put To Popular Vote Any Time Soon
The current countywide ban on pit bulls seems safe from renewed scrutiny from Miami-Dade voters in the coming years. After an attempt to repeal the ban failed by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin in 2012, keeping the decades-old ban in place, activists say they've all but given up hope in changing the legislation.
Photo by Taylor Wray
"The people of Miami-Dade were trained for 20 years to fear anything with a big head and a tail that looks like a pit bull," said Dahlia Canes, the founder of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation.
The defeat in 2012 was too hard to stomach, she explained, and that it made the likelihood of another crack at beating it down at the polls slim to none. No electoral repeal campaign is planned for 2014 or beyond, she said.
"It was total devastation. That's how I would describe the feeling in the pit bull community," Canes said of the loss.
The ordinance, passed in 1989 due to the public cry over the savage mauling of an 8-year-old, makes it illegal "to own or keep American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any other dog that substantially conforms to any of these breeds' characteristics," according to a county website devoted to the matter.
Former Miami Marlins pitcher (before the most recent massive sell-off of the team) Mark Buehrle is one of the most prominent aggrieved former victims of the ban. During his time with the Fish, Buehrle had to live in Broward county and commute to Marlins Park because his family had a young American Staffordshire terrier. This sort of lifestyle-changing law is seen as damaging by some, and is not at all uncommon.