Pit Bull Lovers Fight Miami-Dade's Ban, Hustle Dogs To Broward

Mary is a 38-year-old stay at home mom. She loves animals. And, in the eyes of Miami-Dade Animal Services, she's a criminal.

That's because Miami-Dade is Death Row for pit bulls, thanks to a 20-year-old county-wide law banning the whole breed. Animal Services kills hundreds of pit bulls every year in their headquarters near the Palmetto Expressway.

Mary, who asked that her real name not be used, is part of an illicit underground railroad for the dogs. She's saved dozens over the years, illegally hiding them in her backyard for weeks at a time until she can find them a home in Broward or Palm Beach.

In tomorrow's New Times, you can read our news story on how a coalition of pit bulls lovers hopes to overturn the ban -- and why everyone from the Humane Society to the American Veterinary Medical Association supports them.

After the jump, you can read more about how Mary works to save the dogs from certain death.

Mary first got a pit bull when she was in her early 20s, not realizing the dogs were banned in Miami-Dade. When a neighbor reporter her and she had to give up her pet, she vowed to help save other pit bulls from Animal Services.

"This law just isn't right," she says. "Every pit bull I've ever dealt with has been fantastic."

Today, Mary regularly checks for pit bulls held at Animal Services headquarters. She adopts the animals with the promise that she'll find them a home outside Miami-Dade.

In the meantime, the dogs live in her backyard and and play with her three kids, who range from three to thirteen years old. Today, she has three pit bulls at home.

"Some people say, 'You've got three kids, why would you put them in danger bringing in these dogs you don't know where they came from?'" Mary says. "But I would never put my kids in danger. These dogs are incredibly well behaved and have never caused me any problems."

You can read more about the group trying to overturn Miami-Dade's ban at their website here, and in tomorrow's New Times.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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