January 27, 2012

Support Mark Buehrle In Trashing Miami-Dade's Pit Bull Ban

Animal activist (and Miami Marlins pitcher) Mark Buehrle and his family are working hard to get the Florida legislature to pass HB 997/SB 1322, which would end breed-specific legislation in Miami-Dade County. (Sign this petition.)

After Buehrle signed a four-year deal with Miami this winter, he discovered that his family could not live in Miami-Dade County. One of their four rescued dogs - Slater - is an American Staffordshire terrier, and Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida that has statutes outlawing any dog that looks anything like a pit bull. The dog's actual behaviour is irrelevant. If it exhibits any physical characteristcs of a pit bull - which is not an actual breed of dog, by the way - it can be taken from its family and killed.

Two Florida legislators - Representative Carlos Trujillo and Senator Jim Norman - are working with Best Friends Animal Society to pass HB 997/SB 1322, which would repeal the BSL statute. (Sadly, Ontario is as backwards and inhumane as Miami-Dade when it comes to breed-specific laws - and hundreds of Canadian families have had their dogs killed for no good reason.)

The Handsome Slater:

The Buehrles, continuing the animal activism they did in Chicago, are urging everyone to sign a petition in support of the repeal. (Huge h/t to Big League Stew)

Jamie Buehrle:
When my husband, Mark, became the new pitcher for the Miami Marlins, we were excited to move our family down to Florida and join our team's community.

But then we found out our family wasn't welcome in Miami-Dade County, because one of our rescued dogs, Slater, is a pit bull. We were lucky enough to be able to afford to buy a house outside of Miami-Dade County so we could keep Slater. Many families aren't as fortunate, and they love their dogs just as much.

Because of an archaic exemption in state law, Miami-Dade County is the only county in the entire state permitted to engage in canine profiling. Florida state legislators Representative Carlos Trujillo and Senator Jim Norman are leading an effort, with the help of Best Friends Animal Society, to right this injustice and to repeal the portion of the Florida statute that allows Miami-Dade to kill dogs simply because of their appearance.

No other county in Florida is allowed such unmitigated power over people's pets. It is time that Miamians again enjoy the same right that citizens in Florida's 66 other counties have.

Despite being over 20 years old, Miami’s canine profiling still causes the needless, senseless and unjustified confiscation and killing of hundreds of innocent dogs every year, proving that breed discrimination does not make communities safer, and is impossible to enforce. It's also a waste of tax dollars. Nowhere else in Florida can certain breeds of dogs be summarily killed simply because of their appearance.

It is time to put an end, once and for all, to canine discrimination in Florida and make the Sunshine State a model of humane public policy. Please join me, Mark and our family in standing up for Slater and the dogs Miami-Dade. Help save lives and keep families together by supporting the legislation that will repeal Miami's inhumane breed-discriminatory law.

It looks like non-U.S. residents cannot sign the change.org petition, so I'm asking everyone reading these words to go to change.org and register your support.


Maxwell Horse said...

Love it or leave it, Buehrle!

laura k said...

Bravo, Mark Buehrle!!! This is awesome!

For a long post (but a short version) of how this came to be important to me and Allan, please go here. Ontario, too, has a pitbull ban.

For more about the joys and marvels of the wonderful dogs known as pitbulls, go here.

Allan, thanks so much for posting this.

allan said...

He and his wife were quite active re animal rights for the 12 years they were in Chicago, too.

allan said...

Mark Buehrle, the only pitcher slower than Tim Wakefield!!!(/obligatorywallacematthewsjab)

laura k said...

He and his wife were quite active re animal rights for the 12 years they were in Chicago, too.

I saw that, I was really impressed. Jamie Buehrle's open letter is excellent - very strong, beautiful.

I circulated this post with several pro-pit, anti-BSL groups.

allan said...

"Miami-Dade County expected to repeal pitbull ban"

But the story doesn't offer much information beyond that expectation.


Miami-Dade’s Head of Enforcement at Animal Services, Kathy Labrada, concedes the dangerous breed ban has been a failure. "No, it has not been effective. To target a specific breed I don’t think is logical. Any dog can bite. Some of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met have been pit bulls." ...

Officers visually assess the breeds by ticking off characteristics on a form. Owners are issued $500 fines and given 48 hours to destroy the dogs, or they’ll do it for you.

"If you’re lucky, you get the body bag back," says Ms Canes [Dahlia Canes, who heads the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation]. ...

One of Ms Canes key weapons has been to argue that a lot of the dogs they have seized are not in fact pit bulls, but similar looking dogs such as mastiffs or terrier mixes.

Still, she estimates 800 pit-bull mixes or wrongly identified pit bulls were destroyed in Miami—Dade last year.

Ledy Vankavage, lawyer for "Best Friends", an animal advocacy service, says: "The problem is, what is a pit bull? The animal controllers are wrong in 75 per cent of the cases. They use visual ID. It’s akin to racial profiling."

shiloh arns said...

my name is shiloh arns and i live in polk county florida. my county is also trying to pass a ban on pittbulls. i've been a pitt owner for 20+ yrs and am trying to organize a dog walk for pittbulls only. kind of like the million man march but for pitts and pitt owners. if there is any way i could get any advice or help to organize the walk that would be greatly appreciated. i can be contacted at shiloharns@gmail.com or (863-632-3731). please any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. i'm afraid my voice won't be heard without the proper support. i have also contacted shorty from the pittboss show and tia from pittbulls and parolees. i thank you on behalf of all pittbull owners for your suppoet in saving this wonderful breed. sincerely shiloh arns and my boy "ike"