Five Damn Good Reasons to Vote Down Miami's Pit Bull Ban Today
Good public policy happens after a thorough study of the facts and an unemotional debate. Bad laws happen when politicians try to quickly capitalize on a horrible tragedy, like a 7-year-old girl getting mauled by a pit bull back in 1989. Legislators at the time gave little thought as to how to enforce such a law or whether pit bulls were actually more dangerous than other breeds, all because TV cameras were pointing their direction after the sensational crime. We've had 25 years to study the issue, and the facts are clear: The ban is bad policy.
2. The ban is expensive
Miami-Dade hasn't released exact figures on how much its Animal Services Department spends every year enforcing the ban, but one employee making at least $30,000 a year works full time responding to reports and coordinating confiscation efforts, Canes says. Then there's the cost to euthanize hundreds of pit bulls (many of whom already had homes our could have found them) every year -- in 2008, for instance, the county confiscated 802 of the dogs and killed at least 650 of them.
1. The ban is impossible to enforce
If all of those reasons aren't enough for you to vote yes today to strike down the ban, consider that the damn thing doesn't even work. Why not? First, the county has no real means of testing what dogs are pit bulls and what aren't. Essentially, Animal Services workers use the ol' "pornography test": If it looks like a pit bull, it must be a pit bull. Then there's the fact that none of Miami's neighbors has a ban, so thousands of owners -- including Miami Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle -- simply move to Broward or Monroe to keep their pets. Even for the tens of thousands of pit owners who risk it and stay in Miami, the ban is unenforceable on any kind of large scale. Unless Dade wants to hire hundreds of goons to comb the streets day and night, tens of thousands of pit owners will keep owning their dogs in the 305, even if this dumb law survives today's vote.
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