During its meeting yesterday, the Broward County Commission tabled Item A of Vice-Mayor Barbara Sharief’s motion. This means the motion seeking permission to pursue breed specific legislation will not be forwarded to the state for consideration. Ms. Sharief stated she wanted to work with professionals in animal welfare in the hopes of creating a respectful environment to come to a real solution for the problems in their community.
The Commission did approve Item B of Sharief’s motion which directs the county attorney’s office to draft an amendment to the Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Ordinance to revise and expands the definition of “fighting dogs” to include teaching a dog to fight. Owners caught teaching a dog to fight will have to pay a fine of $500. The amendment also stipulates that owners who do not spay or neuter their pets will also pay a fine.
The overwhelming majority of the 59 speakers addressing the commissioners were against the breed specific motion, and presented well-reasoned, intelligent and heartfelt arguments to support their position.
The commissioners, in fact, seemed well versed in breed specific legislation, and were very patient with those in attendance, even when things got a little testy. I am sure the commissioners were aware of the emotional impact of the proposal, and took that into consideration, but I do encourage residents to reach out and thank them for their willingness to listen and for the ultimate decision made which is in the best interest of all the members of Broward County.
Despite a bit of a rocky start, everyone is to be commended for a job very well done!
To everyone who wrote a letter, made a phone call or attended the hearing, THANK YOU for standing up for what you believe in and speaking out for our dogs! Your voice counts, and that is evidenced so well by the results of this meeting.