Miami-Dade County commissioners hear from pit bull supporters who want to rid county of ban

Pit bulls banned in county for past 25 years

MIAMI – The issue of banning pit bulls in Miami-Dade County continues to spark controversy, and Wednesday commissioners heard from supporters of a plan to rid the county of its breed-specific ban on pit bulls.

Pit bull advocate Dahlia Canes pleaded with commissioners to repeal a 25-year-old ban on pit bulls in the county. The leader of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation made history with her presentation, as her sidekick was the first pit bull service dog ever allowed in the commission chambers.

"You have a no kill goal for Miami-Dade Animal Services, but this is not going to be achieved by any means with BSL on the books," said Canes.

Killing thousands of dogs based on these looks is getting in the way of the county's intention to make Miami-Dade Animal Services  a no-kill shelter.

"Do we have to get rid of this ban to be committed to no-kill in Miami-Dade County?" asked Local 10 News animal advocate Jacey Birch.

"In part you do," said commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz.

A handful of commissioners agree the ban on pit bulls is antiquated and are ready for change. But plenty of others are not, as seen by the family that was devastated when their 4-year-old son was mauled to death last month by a pit bull in their backyard.

"So is your goal to get a vote in front of the commission that would supersede what the voters have already kept on the books?" asked Birch.

"Not right now," said Commissioner Sally Heyman.

While some commissioners said they do want change, they also said it needs to happen slowly, and start with educating the community and mauling victims about pit bulls.

Follow Jacey Birch on Twitter @JaceyBirch

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

About the Author: