FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUESTION: How can we end the “pit bull ban” so that all dogs have the right to live in Miami- Dade County, regardless of their breed?
ANSWER: Vote YES by punching Ballot #500 on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, in the Miami- Dade County Primary Elections.
QUESTION: How do I register to vote in the election?
QUESTION: How can I vote?
ANSWER: Once you are registered to vote, there are multiple ways to vote:
QUESTION: What will the ballot say on August 14?
ANSWER: The ballot language will say:“Repeal of County’s Pit Bull Dog BanShall the ordinance repealing the County’s 23 year old law prohibiting the ownership of pit bulls as a dangerous breed of dogs become effective?
If you want to end the ban and allow pit bulls in Miami-Dade, vote YES by punching #500.
ABOUT THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY BAN
QUESTION: Wasn’t Miami’s “pit bull ban” passed because several people died from pit bullattacks in the 1980s?
ANSWER: No. There has never been a “pit bull” related fatality in Miami-Dade County.Over the past 4 decades there have only been two dog bite-related fatalities in Miami-Dade; one prior to the ban on “pit bull” dogs, in 1972, and the other in 2006. Neither incident involved a “pit bull” dog.(1)
QUESTION: So what prompted the Miami-Dade County Commissioners to pass the pit bull ban back in 1989?
ANSWER: In 1989, a young girl, her mother and her grandmother were attacked by a dog while unloading groceries in their driveway. The dog that attacked them belonged to the next door neighbor. The dog owner told police that he kept his dog chained inside a chain link cage in his unfenced backyard. The owner was cited by Animal Control for failing to vaccinate his dog for rabies, for allowing his dogs to be a public nuisance, for allowing the loose dog to run at large, and for failure to obtain required licenses. In addition to the dog that got loose, the owner kept two other dogs chained inside chain link cages in his unfenced backyard. While we do not have any intention of undermining the pain that the victims of this dog attack suffered, the animal here was also a victim. The description in the police report shows that the owner neglected his dog by keeping the dog chained up inside a cage in the backyard with no protection from the elements and without proper vaccinations. The girl, through her parents, sued the owner of the dog and settled her case for over six figures.
QUESTION: Doesn’t the ban make Miami-Dade County safer?
ANSWER: No. There is no evidence that the pit bull ban has made the county any safer. In fact, the rate of dog bites in the county has decreased at a slower rate than other counties in the U.S. where no breed-specific legislation has ever been enacted. (2)
QUESTION: If the ban is lifted, will it increase the amount of dogfighting in Miami-Dade County?
ANSWER: No. Dogfighting will occur in Miami-Dade County, regardless of whether “pit bulls” are legal or not. Furthermore, pit bull type dogs are not the only breed sought after for dog fighting. When pit bulls are made illegal, the criminal element seeks this type of breed as a status symbol, resulting in an increase of substandard owners. The media portrays the dogs as vicious and builds up the “Pit Bull Paparazzi” hype. The Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation PAC is working with the Miami-Dade County Commissioners to seek an amendment of the Florida dog fighting statute in order to increase the penalties for organizers of and spectators at dog fights (each is currently a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine). In addition, we have proposed an “Irresponsible Dog Owners” Ordinance to the Miami-Dade County Commissioners, which is currently being considered.
QUESTION: What protection will residents have from aggressive dogs?
ANSWER: First, rest assured that there is no such thing as an inherently aggressive breed of dog. Miami-Dade County has a strong Dangerous Dogs Law that allows Miami-Dade County Animal Services to designate a dog as dangerous if it bites or attacks a human, severely injures or kills another domestic animal or has been used or trained for dog fighting, among other things. A dog designated as “dangerous” can be confined and even euthanized. This broad law will continue to be enforced and protects Miami-Dade County residents from dogs that are dangerous, regardless of their breed.Additionally, on July 3, 2012, the Commissioners adopted a proposed ordinance that is set for public hearing in September, which strengthens the Dangerous Dogs Law, creates a Dangerous Dogs Registry and creates penalties for Irresponsible Dog Owners. The MCABSL PAC proposed sample language to the Commissioners for this ordinance.
QUESTION: Shouldn’t we have a mandatory leash law to protect people from dangerous dogs?
ANSWER: Miami-Dade County’s Code of Ordinances (Section 5-20) already makes it unlawful for a person to allow their dog to be off leash or unrestrained on public property and certain private property as well.
1 Source: National Canine Research Council, http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/miami_fnl%5B1%5D.pdf.
2 Source: National Canine Research Council.
PIT BULL MYTHS
QUESTION: Do pit bulls “turn” on their owners when they turn 2 years old?
ANSWER: No. Pit bull type dogs (or any other breed of dog) do not suddenly turn on their owners upon reaching a certain age. A dog’s behavior will depend on how it is raised by its owner and how the dog is socialized. Let’s not forget that pit bulls were considered the “Nanny Dog” in the early 20th century and are great with kids.
QUESTION: Do pit bulls have “locking jaws”?
ANSWER: No. Anatomically speaking, it is impossible for any dog’s jaws to lock. The jaws of pitbulls are no different than the jaws of any other breed of dog.
QUESTION: Only criminals own pit bull dogs, right?
ANSWER: False! Most pit bulls are loving family members. In the news, most of the time, only stories about pit bulls that are abused, neglected or victims of dog fighting are reported. The stories on pit bulls that secretly live in the county with loving families, in hiding because of the ban, go unreported.
QUESTION: Where can I learn more?
- Visit the website of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (“MCABSL”)and sign up to be a member at www.unitedagainstbsl.org.
- Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiamiCoalition.
- We are conducting Educational Power Point Presentations at no charge. If you wouldlike us to present at your office, school or place of worship, please contact Dahlia email@example.com.
- Visit our friends at www.StubbyDog.org for additional resources and stories.
QUESTION: What can I do to help?
- Make sure you vote and tell all your friends and family to vote YES by punching Ballot#500 to end the ban on August 14th in the Miami-Dade County Primary Elections. Find out how to register to vote in Miami-Dade County here: http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/how_register.asp.
- DONATE to the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation Political Action Committee, Inc. here: http://do.nr/b5J. Your donations will be used 100% to help us get out the vote by paying for campaign flyers, t-shirts, and other media outreach.
- VOLUNTEER your time at early polling locations and on election day. Email our volunteer coordinator Selene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUESTION: I have a “pit bull” type dog. What services does MCABSL offer?
ANSWER: MCABSL will be offering Miami-Dade County residents Good Canine Certification for their dogs. This will give dog owners another way to socialize their dogs both with people and canines in a safe and secure environment. Additionally, MCABSL will be offering 101 training by qualified animal trainers at a low cost to owners.
QUESTION: What should I do if I see dog fighting or people training dogs for fighting?ANSWER: Always report animal abuse to your local authorities. You may also contact Dahlia of MCABSL at email@example.com. The MCABSL and No Kill Nation, Inc. have joined forces to launch an Anti-Dog Fighting Campaign. You can learn more at www.mcabsl.wildapricot.org/AntiDogFighting.