Broward County, FL proposing ban on “pit bulls”

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
Phone: 954-357-7008
Fax: 954-357-5704

No direct e-mail available for Sharief, but
her aide is Torey Alston:

Commissioner: Martin David Kiar
Phone: 954-357-7001
Fax: 954-357-7295

Commissioner: Kristin Jacobs

Commissioner: Stacy Ritter
Phone: 954-357-7003
Fax: 954-357-7319

Commissioner: Chip LaMarca
Phone: 954-357-7004
Fax: 954-357-7798

Commissioner: Lois Wexler
FAX: 357-7044

Commissioner: Sue Gunzburger
Telephone: 954-357-7006

Commissioner: Tim Ryan
Phone: 954-357-7007
Fax: 954-357-8088

Commissioner Dale Holness
Phone: 954-357-7009
Fax: 954-357-5707

AI- 13429 52. Broward County Commission Regular Meeting

Meeting Date: 02/26/2013
Director’s Name: Barbara Sharief
Department: County Commission

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

Motion A

: 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.


19 responses to “Broward County, FL proposing ban on “pit bulls”

  1. Please, do not spend Tax Payer dollars on the next Pit Bull holocaust! (Look at the thousands and thousands of dead dogs in Denver, CO.) We should be protecting these loyal animals from HUMANS who neglect, abuse and misuse them. We should educate and support pet owners to properly care for and socialize their dogs… all dogs. P.S. Statistics have flaws, as I don’t see people calling the press to report Shih Tzu and Pomeranian bites.

  2. I have sent an email. It is time that legislators and the courts wake up and address the real problem of animal abuse, cruelty and neglect. We need to stop blaming dogs for the deeds of people! This abuse goes on because animal fighters, abusers and irresponsible owners don’t face severe penalties like jail time or serious fines. What good are cruelty laws when the enforcement is so minimal!! Breed Discrimination laws will not protect the public because criminals and animal abusers don’t care about the law! Punish the deed not the breed! In most cases the breed to punish is HUMAN!!!

  3. This is ridiculous. Not all pitbulls are bad dogs. Its the horrible people in this world who train them to be bad. They are inncoent when they are born. They are not killers. We have 3 pitbulls in our family and they are the sweetest dogs and love kids and everyone for that fact. All these small minded people need to wake up and realize that it is the owners fault and NOT the dog. Any dog can be vicious if you train it the right way. There are many other breeds who are known to be vicious but pitbulls get all of the wrath and its unfair and I know there are going to be many people petitioning this ban

  4. I think this is absolutely outrageous! This is just a bunch of uneducated, ignorant people whom know nothing of the breed and whom jump to conclusion! This breed is the sweetest, most generous and non selfish companion to have. A family and working dog and an amazing one at that. Remember, the babies do not have a voice and cannot speak for themselves! we have to be their voice! When they are FORCED to become vicious fighter, they cannot say ‘no, i dont want to, or ow this hurts me’ they have to survive and do what they are told or they will be beaten/killed by the sick sociopaths that change them. LUCKILY…. many of these ‘fighting’ dogs have made an amazing turn around after being SAVED by good people and have become the best house pets. just like everything they just want love, care and attention!DO NOT BAN THE BULLY BREEDS!!!!!! please i beg of you broward county!!! PLEASE DO NOT!!

  5. Christine Martinez

    Please no ban for pit bulls!! It is unnecessary. Need to focus on the owners.

  6. We forgave the German Shephard. We forgave the Doberman Pincher. We forgave the Rottweiler. We forgave the Chow……..I wish we could forgive the Pit Bull. They are only as mean as humans teach them to be just like the other breeds we have forgiven. I have owned all of the above breeds and Pit Bulls are the smartest and most LOVING of all the others. It’s the humans I can’t stand any longer. It’s our fault not theirs.

  7. I have had many dogs over the years, all of them living very long and healthy lives. Almost all have been miniature breeds. I rescued a Pit Mix a few years ago, she had been abused, was emaciated, injured, and had an electrical cord wrapped around and growing into her neck. She was terrified. I intended to foster her while my Vet tried to find a home for her. Within 24 hours I knew she would not be leaving my home. She is the most loving, loyal and affectionate dog I have ever had. I adore her and will leave Broward county, along with my tax dollars and my business before I would ever comply with such a ludicrous banning rule.
    Punish the losers who mistreat these beautiful creatures by trying to train them to fight, or exploit them by forcing the females to have litter after litter so they can make a few bucks on them. Get into those neighborhoods where this happens and fine the losers and abusers.
    Before you ban a magnificent breed of dog, ban the thugs who have given them such a bad name. That’s the REAL crime here. Pits are the victims.

  8. My family is from Upstate NY. We have pits in our family. They are living loyal and friendly. Please don’t ban the breed. Please go to your local shelter and visit or even play with one. Any breed can turn violent depending how it is raised. Please consider more research before you make a final decision. Thank you


  10. We should NOT be putting a ban on breeds… such as pit bulls… we should put a ban on the IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY of irresponsible pet owners who breed these dogs, any breed, out of control for illegal or immoral reasons, and then we all wonder why they fill up shelters and end up being euthanized for being born into this world to heartless people. Educate, foster, adopt, sponsor… impose fines on irresponsible breeders, require they be licensed and must keep track of their litters and be responsible for the puppies if the owner cannot keep the dog any longer. Make these BACKYARD BREEDERS stand up and take responsibility and I guarantee you there will not be 1/2 as many dogs ending up in shelters to be destroyed!!! Let’s look at the REAL problem and NOT just put a “band-aid” on the situation!!

  11. Please don’t ban pit bulls in Boward county!! They are a great breed!! There would be more pit bulls being pts in shelters because they couldn’t be adopted!! Please don’t band pit bulls from Broward county!!!!

  12. To see now county commissioners over stepping there bounds like the federal government. Is no surprise no one wants to go after the real issue. The people who fight dogs or not using proper restraints. Not the dog itself… I will do what I can to raise money so that who ever votes this in will be defeated at the poles.. And their opponent wins!!!! Oh by the way the state has already banned what your trying to do…

  13. You know I myself had always been afraid of the PitBull breed, until the day that my daughter brought one home, and you wanna know sonething./ Just like everyone else has said a pit can be the MOST LOVING AND LOYAL BREED THAT IS OUT THERE. MY DOG ADORA IS SO LOVING AND PLAYFUL AS ANY OTHER DOG THAT I HAVE EVER HAD, SHE PROTECTS ME WHEN SHE SENSES THAT SOMEONE IS AROUND MY HOME AND SHE QUICKLY LETS THEM KNOW THAT SHE IS INSIDE MY HOUSE. ALSO WHEN I AM SICK OR ANY OF MY CHILDREN ARE SICK SHE WILL LAY THERE RIGHT BY OUR SIDES, UNTIL WE GET TO FEELING BETTER. I use to be one of those who were extremely scared of the breed but now I couldnt live without my PITTY beside me and protecting me through thick and thin.

  14. Laziness on the dog owners who do not care for their pets and laziness on the county who is not enforcing their laws. Insteed of doing their jobs, they just want to ban.

  15. The breed “pit bull” is not the problem. The problem is the way people treat and raise their pet. Pit bulls are one of the sweetest tempered and most loveable breeds out there. However, even the nicest dog will turn mean if it is treated with cruelty and forced to defend itself in dog fight after dog fight. The dog should not be punished for the way their “human” treated them. If any type of legislation is passed it should be to impose JAIL TIME for “humans” who abandon and are cruel and fight their dogs.
    Do not punish the breed for the fault of the humans who own them. I find it very interesting that statistics are provided for the number of pit bull attacks, abandoned etc., but not one statistic was provided for other breeds of dogs that attach people and pets and that are abandoned by their owners. If you want to pass a law then provide statistical data on all breeds not just one breed. The only punishment/law that should be passed is to hold pet owners more accountable for the way the abuse and neglect their pet. We have laws to protect our children but non to protect animals that are abused and mistreated everyday. Anyone who supports a law to ban pit bulls is totally ignorant of the breed. If I had a choice between owning a pit bull or a poodle I would chose the pit bull because they have a much sweeter temperament than a high strung poodle. Please do not allow such an ignorant law to be passed because who knows the next law to be brought up could be on how many kids you can have, what color you can paint your house. Giving government too much power in one thing will lead to the government trying to regulate everything we do. I hope there are more intelligent people out there than ignorant people who know nothing of the breed they are trying to ban..

  16. Annette Del Pino

    Good day, I have owned two (2) American Stafordshire Pit Bulls that I have adopted from the Humane Society of Broward County off of Griffin Rd They have been the absolutely best dogs that we, as a family have ever owned. I have 3 daughters to which they have grown up with. We have owned 1) one dog at a time, my first one does of cancer and adopted another one. Both of my family pets have been the most doscile dogs anyone could ever own. My dog that I have now is named Koda. I have all kinda if people coming in and out of my house to visit, anywhere from grandmothers, teenagers, small children and all in between. He is so sweet and friendly to everyone he meets that’s includes other animals of any type and breed, to which I have many, many testimonies. There isn’t a mean hair on my dogs body. My neighbors dog is a male dashound breed, which my dog and my neighbors dog absolutely love each other. We also own a cat named Cleopatra. She is the boss of my pit, and he loves her.
    I am just trying to make a point. It’s not the breed, it’s the owners that ruins the animal. There must be strick penalties for these owners of any breed, not ban the breed from loving families/owners. If it were to be banned, I would move. I, we live our boy Koda that much. He is part of our family. Let me remind you again, it’s not a bad breed, it’s bad people. They have been called “Nanny” Dogs, For example: Helen Keller and her pit bull- Sir Thomas, Petey from The Little Rascals. Famous military & hero dogs that helped like – Tahoe, Cheyenne, and Dakota are all search and rescue dogs in Sacramento, California. The three pit bulls worked none stop at the World Trade Center and Pentagon after 9/11. And many many more stories that show this breed is a wonderful, lovable and loyal breed. I beg of you not to pass the banning of put bulls of any kind in Broward County. Fine those and give very stiff penalties that abuse this or any breed.
    Thank you,
    Annette Del Pino

  17. Pingback: Pit bull news | Have dog blog will travel


  19. What do they plan to do about the thousands of pedophiles they constantly allow out of jail every single day?

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