Miami-Dade votes to create dangerous dog registry

Plan includes higher fines, stricter rules on dogs, more restrictions on owners

MIAMI - The Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday voted to create a dangerous dog registry.

Commissioner Lynda Bell was the lone vote against the registry, which passed 9-1. A second dog ordinance passed 8-2.

The plan will beef up the county's ordinances, including stricter rules on aggressive dogs, more restrictions on owners, higher fines, and an online registry of dogs that are known for attacks or aggression. Some other counties in Florida have similar registries.

Miami-Dade County Animal Services Director Alex Munoz said a sworn affidavit or police report is required for a dog to be posted on the registry.

"If you want to go for a walk with your family and you're concerned about a certain dog, you can always check to see the address," Munoz told the commission.

"At the end of the day, I believe in bad owners, not bad dogs," said Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, who sponsored the ordinance. "These pets are a part of our families and we should do all we can to protect them and the community by being responsible owners."

The ordinance will go into effect on October 12 if Mayor Carlos Gimenez does not veto it.

"What is solidified in the legislation is -- what is aggressive, what is dangerous," said Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman.

"These animal attacks occur so few and far between, the dangerous ones," said Miami-Dade Commission Chair Joe Martinez.

The commission also considered urging Congress to ban assault rifles, but split 5-5 on the vote.

"Meanwhile, I can guarantee you that, if you look at the records, between the last bite and that one of that serious nature, you've probably had 10 or 15 people shot," said Martinez.

The commission also voted 10-0 to expand an ordinance to require guardrails for parking lots adjacent to water in unincorporated Miami-Dade County. The existing parking lots must have the new guardrails within 18 months.

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