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Canine Activists Combat Pit Bill Ban

Banned for life? Probably.

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There’s a lot of truth to the notion that we should punish “the deed, not the breed” when it comes to Pit Bulls. Pits and other dogs prone to violence most often commit it because of owners who stir the genetic stew, looking to bring out the breeds’ vicious inbred behaviors.

A 2006 study of reported dog attacks between 1982 and 2006 by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People,

cited the pit bull terrier with a whopping 602 assaults, far exceeding Rottweiler attacks (223) and dwarfing every other breed, including the German Sheperd (38) and even wolf hybrids (43). But as a University of Minnesota study from the same year noted, factors in aggression include not only a dog’s heredity, but also “early experience, socialization and training … and quality of ownership.”

Still, Dahlia Canes, Lindsay Gorton, Edel Miedes and the other activists behind a push to scrap Miami-Dade County’s pit bull prohibition face an uphill fight. The county outlawed pits – genetically speaking, American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and American Staffordshire terriers, or combinations thereof -- in 1989, predating a state ban on breed-specific prohibitions. If caught in Miami-Dade, Pit Bull owners receive a $500 fine and can face a court order to get rid of the dogs.

“Every year hundreds of loving, loyal and gentle pitbulls are taken from their owners and killed simply because of the way they look,” Gorton wrote in an email to New Times. “There are no tests to 100 percent determine breed, thus making this law unethical, and immoral.”

The group’s online petition claims to have gathered 1081 signatures, which will be presented at the

Health and Public Safety Committee meeting of the county commission, today at 2:00 p.m. But if their previous attempt is any indication, revisiting the 18-year-old ban is not high among the commission’s priorities.

“Aside from the morality of it all, the lack of attention the commissioners paid to the first presentation is sickening,” Groton wrote. “During the 5 minutes we had to present the commissioners took 3 to stop talking among themselves. One commissioner was even talking on his cell phone!” --Frank Houston

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