63% Favor Ban | Results PDF
Miami, FL - Back in March, DogsBite.org wrote about the state legislative attempt, spearheaded by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, to repeal the Miami-Dade pit bull ban (HB 997) and its Senate counterpart (SB 1322). What put a halt to that effort was an agreement by Miami-Dade Commissioners to place the item on a countywide ballot on August 14 and let the public decide. By late evening of the 14th, the voice of the public was clear: Do not repeal the Miami-Dade County pit bull ban.
In the end, 63% of voters chose to keep the 23-year old pit bull ban.
Well-organized pit bull advocates complained that 5-months was not enough time to "reeducate" the public using pro-pit bull propaganda. However, the language of the referendum was in favor of repealing the pit bull ban, as it was written to deliver a "yes" response. Furthermore, media outlets, most notably the Miami Herald, were overwhelming in support of repealing the ban. Those who wanted to keep the ban were absent of organized efforts and help from major media.
"Shall the ordinance repealing the County's 23 year old law prohibiting
the ownership of pit bulls as a dangerous breed of dogs become
So how did supporters of the pit bull ban under the circumstances of a confusing ballot question, no grassroots organization or significant help from media outlets -- or fading stars like Miami Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle -- manage to pull off a 63% victory? The answer may in part be that the majority of Americans disfavor living next door to a pit bull. In a 2009 poll conducted by Animal People, 68% of respondents agreed they would prefer not to live next door to a pit bull.
It is also worth mentioning from our March post that since the 1989 enactment of the Miami-Dade County pit bull ban, no citizen has been mauled to death by a pit bull. According to the Fatal Pit Bull Attacks website, 17 Florida citizens have been killed by pit bulls since the ordinance was enacted. None of these deaths occurred in Miami-Dade County. With the continuance of the ban, child fatalities due to severe dog maulings might remain at zero in Miami-Dade.1
03/12/12: Attempt to Overturn Miami-Dade Pit Bull Ban Advances: 'Don't They Know?'
05/12/12: Survey Conducted: The Preference of Living Next Door to a Pit Bull