The pits: Marlins pitcher can’t live in Miami
The Marlins have welcomed Mark Buehrle to Miami, but his dogs are another matter.
One of the former White Sox pitcher’s four dogs is a pit bull, and “pit bull types” are banned in Miami-Dade.
So Buehrle, his wife Jamie, their two young children and four dogs are residing in nearby Broward County — but making their opinions about the discriminatory law known.
As animal lovers and spokespeople for Best Friends Animal Society, the Buehrles are featured in a new public service announcement in support of legislation (HB 997 /SB 1322) that would overturn the breed-specific law, passed in 1989.
Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida with such a ban, due to an exemption in state law, Best Friends says.
Florida State Representative Carlos Trujillo and Senator Jim Norman are leading the legislative effort, along with the help of Best Friends Animal Society. The bill has yet to be placed on the committee agenda in the Senate.
Jamie Buehrle also has started a Change.org petition urging support of the legislation.
In her blog, she said Slater, their adopted 18-month-old American Staffordshire terrier, is a member of the family:
“We had always agreed to make sure that wherever Mark ended up playing, Slater would be welcome. So, when Mark had the opportunity to sign with the Miami Marlins we were harshly confronted with Miami-Dade County’s 20-year-old pit bull terrier ban and immediately knew we would have to live a county over in Broward.
“Mark and I are fortunate to have the resources to accommodate Slater,” she wrote. “But it breaks our hearts that so many families are faced with losing their family pet simply because a local government has deemed their dog ‘dangerous’ based on nothing more than appearance. We can’t imagine ever having to give Slater up simply because a city says we can’t have him. Not only would we be distraught at that prospect, but our kids would be devastated.”
A spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society says the ban — it applies to any dog resembling a pit bull, without any consideration of a dog’s behavior — causes severe hardship to hundreds of responsible owners of friendly, properly supervised, well-socialized pets.
Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends, says breed-discriminatory laws are expensive and ineffective, citing a study by the economic research firm John Dunham and Associates that estimates Miami-Dade County spends more than $3 million a year to enforce the current law.
“In these tough economic times, laws that waste precious taxpayer dollars while failing to accomplish what they set out to do should be repealed,” said VanKavage. “The simple truth is breed is not a factor in bites. Many studies, along with the experience of Best Friends Animal Society, show that breed discriminatory laws are ineffective and result in the deaths of hundreds of pets in Miami-Dade each year.”
Twelve states, including Florida, prohibit canine profiling, but Florida’s law grandfathered Miami-Dade’s provision. HB 997/SB 1322 would give pet owners in Miami-Dade the same right as pet owners throughout the state.
Ohio, the only state that designates a breed of dog as vicious, is in the process of repealing its breed discriminatory law, with a Senate vote on HB 14 expected next week.
“This is America,” VanKavage said. “Responsible dog owners should be allowed to own whatever type of dog they choose, regardless of appearance. Reckless owners should be prevented from owning any dog.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
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