Barbara Sharief, the Vice Mayor of the Broward County Commission, introduced on February 21, 2013 a motion to make it illegal to “own and keep” American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, or any dog that may “conform” to a pit bull breed in Broward County, Florida. The motion seeks approval from the state to pursue a breed specific ordinance – an action that is prohibited by Florida state law. The state law was passed not long after Miami/Dade enacted its ban on pit bulls, and Miami/Dade, as well as a handful of other cities with breed specific laws, were grandfathered in by the state law, but from that point on, cities could not pass ordinances that discriminated against breeds.
Vice Mayor Sharief claims Broward County has a “pit bull issue,” and that animal centers have reported more than 270 incidents of roaming pit bulls in Broward County since 2011. The motion alleges that the action will hopefully ameliorate “on-going incidents involving pit bulls and other dangerous dogs.”
Contrary to the actual wording of the motion (included below), Sharief claims Broward County doesn’t want to make owning pit bulls a criminal offense, but they want to fine people into compliance. Begging the question, what do they expect people to comply with if its not a breed ban?
Sharief said she recognizes the combustible nature of the issue, and acknowledges the county will get backlash for this move, but claims there is more support for the move than against.
This issue is on the Broward County Commission agenda for February 26, 2013 and is item #52 on the agenda. Meetings begin at 10:00 a.m. and are held in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center.
Meetings are also broadcast live here.
As noted above, Florida state law PROHIBITS cities from passing breed specific ordinances.
Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the Broward County Commissioners. If you are in Broward County, please make every effort to attend the meeting on February 26.
Commissioner Barbara Sharief
Broward County Governmental Center
115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 410
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
No direct e-mail available for Sharief, but
her aide is Torey Alston: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner: Martin David Kiar
Commissioner: Kristin Jacobs
Commissioner: Stacy Ritter
Commissioner: Chip LaMarca
Commissioner: Lois Wexler
Commissioner: Sue Gunzburger
Commissioner: Tim Ryan
Commissioner Dale Holness
AI- 13429 52. Broward County Commission Regular Meeting
|Director’s Name:||Barbara Sharief|
Information Requested Action
A. MOTION TO APPROVE addition to the state legislative program making it illegal to own and keep American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers or any other dog that substantially conforms to any of these “pit bull” breed characteristics; support addition to the state legislative program imposing a state fine for acquiring or keeping these specific animals.
B. MOTION TO DIRECT County Attorney’s office to draft an amendment to the Broward County Animal Care & Regulation Ordinance (Chapter 4); revising and expanding “fighting dogs” definitions to include teaching a dog to fight; imposing a fine of $500 for “teaching” a dog to fight; adjusting the fine for “fighting dogs” from a sliding scale to a standard $500 per occurrence; adjusting the fine for non-vaccinated dogs from a sliding scale to a standard $300 per occurrence; adjusting the fine for non-licensed dogs from a sliding scale to a standard $300 per occurrence. (Vice Mayor Sharief) Why Action is Necessary This action comes in response to on-going incidents involving pit bulls and other dangerous dogs. What Action Accomplishes Increases accountability measures for dangerous dogs who threaten humans and other animals. Is this Action Goal Related Previous Action Taken Summary Explanation/ Background
: In October, 1990, the Florida Legislature adopted legislation which prevented enforcing breeds specific legislation at the local government level. The Florida Legislature is the only governing body with the authority to make any changes.
Recently, there have been repeated attacks related to pit bulls both on people and animals, particularly in south Broward. However, this trend has often occurred in other areas in Broward County. Miami-Dade County has a ban on pit bulls, so many local experts and community organizations believe many of these dogs are roaming in the south Broward area and into the remainder of Broward County.
According to Broward County Office of Animal Care and Adoption, there have been more than 225 attacks related to pit bulls over a two-year period of 2011 and 212. Furthermore, there have been more than 269 calls related to “at large” pit bulls roaming during this same time period.
This proposed addition to the Broward County State Legislative Program would begin to address this lingering issue at the state level.
Motion B: The Broward County Commission currently enforces several penalties and fines. This recommendation would strengthen the current penalties and fines along with sending a strong message to the public on the County’s position to keep all residents safe.
Currently, there is no penalty for “teaching” a dog to fight. The revisions will expand the Broward County Code to prohibit teaching a dog to fight, consistent with Florida Statutes. This proposal would create a penalty. Secondly, there are penalties for “fighting dogs”. The current cost structure is $362.50 for the first offense and $512.50 for each occurrence thereafter (includes a $12.50 administrative fee for processing). The proposal would increase the penalty and create a standard fee of $500 for each occurrence.
Presently, there is a sliding scale for non-vaccinated dogs. The first occurrence is a fee of $67.50. The second occurrence is a fee of $87.50. The third occurrence is a fee of $162.50. The fourth occurrence is a fee of $300. There is also a sliding scale for non-licensed dogs. The scale is the same for non-vaccinated dogs. The proposal would increase the penalty and create a standard fee of $300 for each occurrence.