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Tag: dade county

Miami-Dade: a dozen dog parks and growing

Everything, of course, is relative, but, compared to almost any other major city, it’s clear Baltimore — with one small dog park and another on the way– has a severe dearth of dog parks.

Today’s case in point: Miami-Dade County.

For a while, there were only three – Flamingo Park and a pair of parks in Coconut Grove. But in just the past few years, more fenced areas for dogs have popped up in Miami Beach, Coconut Grove and Hialeah, bringing the number of dog parks in cities around Miami-Dade to more than a dozen, the Miami Herald notes.

In Palmetto Bay, after a push by residents, the village responded in 2007, converting the almost three-acre Perrine Wayside Park into a dogs-only zone. The park has a walking path, waste bag stations, pet water fountains and dog washing stations. Dogs can frolic alongside the ducks in the middle of the park’s picturesque lake.

Aventura residents got their own dog park last summer. And Sunny Isles Beach opened “The Bone Zone” at Sen. Gwen Margolis Park last May. Homestead has a “bark park” under construction and Doral is also considering creating a dog park.

Miami Beach, meanwhile, has four do parks and is considering a fifth at the newly renovated South Pointe Park. The city is also weighing whether to create a dog beach.

Numbers like that are enough to make a dog owner in Baltimore — which has one small dog park in the city, another in the county — drool.

It makes you wonder what Miami-Dade has that we don’t — other than more sunshine and money — whether it’s a matter of the people pushing harder, or having fewer bureaucratic obstacles thrown in front of them. Why do some cities spawn dog parks like bunnies, while others move at a tortoise’s pace?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

(Photo: Perrine Wayside Park, a three-acre dog park in Palmetto Bay, Florida, from dogparkmiami.com)

Miami’s pit bull ban takes a hit

Breed specific legislation against pit bulls took another much deserved hit last week when a Dade County court ruled that Miami’s pit bull ban is too vague to be used as grounds for euthanizing animals.

The county ban applied to all dogs that “substantially conform” to American Kennel Club standards for  American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or United Kennel Club standards for American Pit Bull Terriers.

To determine if a dog conformed to the standards, the animal control department used a chart that lists 15 body parts, such as head, neck, lips, chest, eyes, tail and hind legs. Officers check off which characteristics of a dog conform to a pit bull. If three or more characteristics are checked, the dog is declared a pit bull.

The court ruling came in a case challenging the finding by Miami-Dade County Animal Control that a family pet named Apollo was a “pit bull” that must be removed from the county or euthanized.

Rima Bardawil, the attorney for Apollo, pointed out that the ordinance makes no mention of any chart or checklist, and that it is not clear what standards animal control is using in making its determinations or how valid they are.

Dahlia Canes, executive director of Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, testified that animal control is “constantly” misidentifying the breeds of dogs. She told the court about one dog that was declared by an animal control officer to be a pit bull mix and ordered euthanized.  Canes arranged to have the dog re-evaluated and he was determined to be a mastiff mix. The dog was then adopted to a family in Miami-Dade County.  

In the case of Apollo, the animal control officer photographed the dog from several feet away, then used the photo to pick three body parts he said he thought conformed to pit bull standards.

It makes one wonder — how many of the dogs described by police, and characterized in headlines, as pit bulls really are of the breeds that fall under that catch-all term?