Miami-Dade County has banned residents from owning pit bulls for more than 25 years, and voters reaffirmed the ban in 2012 with an overwhelming 63 percent vote. Despite controversy surrounding the law, politicians and citizens alike have time and time again shown that Miami is comfortable with breed-specific legalization regarding dogs.
But with all controversial laws, it is up to us to continually reevaluate them and wonder if they perhaps go too far or not far enough. The time has come for us to ask these hard questions about breed-specific dog bans in Miami. More specifically: Are we banning enough types of dog breeds?
The answer is no. It is time to consider banning the Yorkshire terrier, a yappy hellbeast that has ravaged the citizens of this county and muddied our quality of life far too long.
Now, perhaps you're saying, "That's crazy! Pit bulls are murderous beasts with crazy-powerful jaws bred to dismember! Yorkies are just tiny things that couldn't harm a fly even if they tried."
But not all harm is done through violence. Far from it, in fact.
You see, Yorkies' real crime is something no one talks about but everyone hears.
They have a strong tendency to never shut up. Especially here in Miami, it's all too common for people to treat their prized pooches like teddy bears instead of actual dogs that need training and boundaries. Yes, we've all encountered Yorkies that bark incessantly the second their owner leaves home. It's a documented, frequent problem with the breed that seems more prevalent here in Miami.
And because Yorkies are popular condo dogs, and even the most expensive condo building in this county seemingly can't afford to construct walls out of anything thicker than three-ply Kleenex, it's a real problem with real effects.
Ask around. Surely you'll find someone who has experienced the problem of being awakened and kept that way by the yips of an incessant Yorkie or made to feel like they're being noise-tortured CIA-style in their own home.
This is no laughing matter. In the long run, lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, addiction, weight loss, and an overall increase in mortality. But even one night of sleep cut short can prove deadly. Sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 100,000 crashes a year. Sleep deprivation also played a part in nuclear catastrophes at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill (granted, there is no evidence that Yorkies caused those specific incidents, but they could have!). Sleep deprivation also leads to lower productivity. We're talking about real impacts on our county's health, safety, roadways, and economy! And that's not even counting the potential side effects of the stress.
Some might say, "That's not all Yorkies' fault! It's not the breed! It's the owner!"
At one point in my life, I might have agreed with you. When I was young, my grandmother had a Yorkie -- a gentle little animal named Holly that barked less than it pooped. For years, I thought they were overall good dogs, but that was before I moved to Miami's urban core.
It turned out Holly was the exception, and I saw, well, heard Yorkies for what they really were. First, it began at friends' houses, when I heard yips through the wall. They'd crank up the music or turn up the TV to drown out the barking. The friends might complain about how the dogs kept them up at night, but it wasn't my problem. I didn't have to live with it. Then I'd hear stories from others complaining about their neighbors' dogs, and then it happened to me. Luckily, I've been spared the worst. The offenders do not live in my building, yet somehow their two dogs' early-morning walk around the building's shared yard has become the bane of my existence. They bark at everything.
The shared thread of all of these horrible Yorkie stories I've heard is that the victims eventually approach the owners. The owners are usually kind and apologetic, and they promise they'll try to do something. But nothing works, because it's not the owner; it's the breed! Just like pit bulls. And just like pit bulls, Yorkies should be banned.
Granted, I don't think our ban should be too proactive. Yorkie owners who are lucky enough to own a well-behaved dog that hardly yaps and has a place to walk away from the general public -- like, say, the backyard of their detached single-family home in Kendall -- should have nothing to worry about.
However, Yorkie sales should be banned in the county immediately (we all know how shady small-dog-breed sales are in South Florida already), and problem dogs should be rounded up for the public good.
Now, of course, we don't condone killing any Yorkies that are seized under the ban. What kind of cruel, heartless county would sentence thousands of dogs a year to death simply because of their breed and the fact their owners can't respect a law? That would be a travesty.
Instead, we propose building a Yorkie safe haven somewhere far, far away from civilization. Like in the Redland or something. How would this be paid for? Simple. Tourists would be charged $15 to run in a field for an hour with hundreds if not thousands of Yorkies. Ear plugs would be sold for an extra $5. Turns out most people do love Yorkies in small doses.
Think of the tourism dollars this idea could bring to the county. Tons of towns have boring old observation towers, but not even Paris has a field of Yorkies. People would come from all over the world -- and then get to return to the guest rooms in their friends' apartments and go to sleep peacefully.
And if all of that proves successful, we could ban Chihuahuas too. Because that's hot it works in Miami-Dade county. If we can point out enough problem examples of a certain type of breed than clearly they should be banned!
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