Miami-Dade's Pit Bull Ban is Heading to the Ballot in August

It's official: the decision about whether or not to overturn Miami-Dade County's controversial 23-year-old ban on pit bulls will be decided by voters in August. County commissioners voted 11-1 to last night to put the referendum on the August 14 ballot.

State legislators in Tallahassee were prepared to draft a bill earlier this year that would have outlawed the ban, but county commissioners didn't like the idea of the state meddling in local ordinances. So, they promised to hold a referendum on the matter.

The bill was passed in 1989 after an 8-year-old girl was mauled and disfigured by an unruly pit bull. A year later the State passed a law forbidding breed specific laws, but Miami-Dade's ordinance was grandfathered in an allowed to stand. Problem is, the bill never really had clear language defining exactly what a pit bull is, and thousands of dogs that even vaguely resemble pit bulls have been euthanized over the past two decades. Groups like the Humane Society to the American Veterinary Medical Association have come out against it.

"Shall the ordinance repealing the county's 23 year old law prohibiting the ownership of pit bulls as a dangerous breed of dogs become effective?" reads the ordinance that will be put before voters in August.

The vote will be held the same day of the first (and potentially only) round of voting in the county Mayoral election, and the day that Republican chose their candidate for Senate.

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Kyle Munzenrieder