Miami-Dade County has had an active breed ban since 1989. It is one of the first counties to implement a ban of an entire dog breed. The county promised that by banning pit bulls, the number of serious injuries caused by dogs would be drastically reduced.
The bill was passed after an 8-year old girl was mauled by her neighbor’s pit bull. The ordinance never had any clear language as to what a pit bull is, and thousands of dogs have been euthanized over the past two decades.
Statistically, the percentage of Miami-Dade dog bite incidents that require hospitalization continues to be higher than the rest of the entire state of Florida.
In 2008, Miami-Dade officials confiscated more than 800 dogs, and under the law, euthanized more than 650. The Miami-Dade pit bull ban is one of the harshest dog bans, as there is not a clear definition of a pit bull. Essentially, officers can assess a dog by ticking off characteristics on a form, and if there are enough ticks, the dog is deemed a “pit bull;” the owners are fined $500 and given 48 hours to destroy the dog or the county will do it.
The Head of Enforcement at Animal Services admits that even though she does not like the law, she must abide it. She notes that over 800 dogs have been mis-labeled as pit bulls, but instead are of terrier or mastiff breeds.
In August 2012, voters will be able to vote for or against keeping the ordinance.
Miami-Dade county Brings Ban to a Vote – Stop BSL