Bill that would repeal state’s last remaining pit bull bans advances

The bill repeals the current law that had grandfathered in cities' dog breed-specific bans in effect before 1990.

Pit bulls — also known as American Staffordshire terriers —would no longer be discriminated against in ordinances and would only be judged by their behavior, according to legislation that advanced Tuesday.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee unanimously voted for legislation (SB 614) that would prohibit public housing authorities and local ordinances from breed-specific rules on dogs. It repealed a previous line that allowed city rules that had passed before Oct. 1, 1990 — the same year that Miami-Dade County’s ordinance prohibiting pit bulls was adopted.

“There isn’t any scientific evidence that there is a particular breed that is dangerous,” said Sen. Ileana Garcia, the bill’s sponsor, who hails from Miami. “What we did see was during COVID, a huge uptick of our shelters in Miami-Dade … We just could not handle the amount of animals that were coming in because people were transitioning to public housing.”

She said that local governments and public housing entities are free to adopt rules about dogs that have attacked or bitten people, but should not single out dogs by breed.

“We have a saying in Spanish (that means) ‘the good ones pay for the bad,’” Garcia said.

Like Miami, the city of Sunrise also rules targeting pit bulls on its books.

Striking these rules from ordinance codes is something that the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation has been working toward for 18 years, said Dahlia Canes, the organization’s director and founder.

Miami’s ban on pit bulls is ridiculous, she said, “because you can’t identify a breed visually.”

The co-founder of the Freckles Freedom Fund, an organization that helps families avoid surrendering their animals, called Garcia’s bill “huge.”

Miami-Dade offered voters the chance to repeal its pit bull ban in 2012, but only 36% agreed.

“It was an uninformed decision,” said Wendy Schugar, who now lives in Broward County, on breed-specific rules. “It was based on passion as opposed to good science.”

Similar legislation (CS/HB 721) that Rep. James Buchanan proposed (CS/HB 721) has also been approved in the House Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Ocean Joe

    January 27, 2022 at 6:15 am

    If they’re ‘only going to be judged on their behavior’ this means only after the fact of someone or their pet being torn up will any consequence take place. Again, centralization of power in Tallahassee, prevention of local control….what should go along with this is an exception to sovereign immunity to allow victims to sue the state for resulting damages, since the pit bull owner will most likely have no insurance nor assets to cover the death of a small child, maiming of an adult, or destruction of a beloved pet.
    Those communities were acting responsibly to protect their citizens from an ongoing menace. These dogs are incredibly sweet and loyal – but also extremely dangerous when the switch gets flipped. Ask Judge Judy.

    • Jane

      January 28, 2022 at 11:37 am

      Stop spreading lies! This breed is no different than any other breed! You’re closed to looking into scientific evidence, your just one of those haters that spew your ridiculous propaganda crap! Im so sick of uneducated people that comment their ignorance all over social media! Btw, who is Judge Judy, just another uneducated hater!!!! Judge Judy should do her homework as should you.

      • ChildrenFirst!

        February 2, 2022 at 10:01 pm

        Actually, the CDC has documented the basic fact that pit bulls kill more people than any other breed. And that was back in the ’80s and ’90s when pit bulls were not very common. Pit bulls now kill about 300 people every decade in the United States. Many of the fatalities involve children.

  • denise lasher

    January 27, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Profiling of any living being is wrong!! There is no science that says this breed is more likely to bite verses another breed. People have a right to own whatever dog they want and yes owners should be responsible for their dogs. That is why the current state law goes into great detail regarding dangerous dogs and penalties. AND state laws allow local communities and housing authorities to adopt even more restrictive laws, they just can not be breed specific.
    Accurate breed identification is difficult unless you do DNA testing and even that is not perfect. Miami-Dade uses a 90% threshold for id of a pitbill dog. So if it is 89% you can keep the dog. How can you visually make that determination. Miami-Dade County Shelter does a fabulous job and has many volunteers that assist the shelter but this inhumane antiquated policy needs to end.
    Punish the owner not the dog for bad behavior. And local government can do just that currently and this bill will not change that.

    • Jane

      January 28, 2022 at 11:40 am

      Finally, an educated comment!!! Thank you Denise! So many people spewing their bullshit all over social media makes sick!!!

    • ChildrenFirst!

      February 2, 2022 at 10:03 pm

      There is in fact a great deal of evidence that pit bulls kill more people than any other breed. The CDC documented this back in the ’80s and ’90s before pit bulls were even very common. How many children have to lose their lives to a single breed of dog for you to ever admit that this is a problem?

    • Bonny Thomas Lee

      February 6, 2022 at 1:51 pm

      Ms Lasher
      Unfortunately what most media do not report is the actual “science” that you dismiss as being nonexistent. In fact some 15 medical studies since 2011 have indeed raised the alarm as to the rising morbidity and mortality from dog attacks in the United States-these trauma surgeons are not so politically intimidated. The primary killer and inflicter of devastating injuries is the Pit Bull and it’s mixes. Here are the fatalities from 2021. Rottweilers-4, Pack of Dogs or Breed Unknown-5, St Bernard-1, Cane Corso-1. There were 48 confirmed deaths by dogs. You can do the math but you already know what breed the rest were.

      • Fact Checker

        February 6, 2022 at 3:24 pm

        The breeds you want me to do the math on is from DBO right? DBO has never seen a short haired medium sized dog it has not labelled a “pit bull” no matter what breed or breeds the dog is made out of.

        BTW trauma surgeons do NOT see the actual dogs involved in a dog bite incident. Not a single one of them. Look up the study called;
        “Defaming Rover: Error-Based Latent Rhetoric in the Medical Literature on Dog Bites” 2017

        Then you can look up; “Who is minding the bibliography? Daisy chaining, dropped leads, and other bad behavior using examples from the dog bite literature”.

  • Miami #305

    January 27, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Thank-you Senator Garcia and Representative Buchanan for this bill. It is time to end breed profiling in this state!
    This measure will save hundreds of good dogs and will prohibit government from telling residents what breed of dog they may own.

    • Irial

      January 28, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      Every year a child dies in Florida from a pitbull attack.
      If the bill passes, the blood of the next will be on your hands.

      • Fran C

        January 29, 2022 at 12:52 pm

        There are a estimated 8 million dogs in Florida. Florida averages 2 dog bite related fatalities a year. TWO DEATHS FROM AN ESTIMATED 8 MILLION DOGS: Population of Florida 21.48 MILLION so let’s compare. In 2020 Florida reported 13.051 homicides; ; 5,609 deaths from accidental poisonings. 2,547 deaths from septicemia infections, 3,242 deaths from car accidents; 3,506 were suicide deaths. If there is a problem with accidental deaths in Florida, the real problem lies with people NOT pets.

        • ChildrenFirst!

          February 2, 2022 at 10:05 pm

          Why do you want children to die? The CDC has documented the fact that pit bulls kill more people than any other breed. It is now estimated that 300 Americans are losing their lives every decade because of a single breed of dog. Why are the hundreds of American children who have lost their lives to pit bulls never a part of the conversation?

      • Jaimie Williamson

        February 1, 2022 at 9:33 am

        Every year children die to the hands of their own parents. I don’t see a ban on parents. Maybe people need to worry less about killing and profiling animals and really start worrying about the human that abuse by raping and trafficking’s. Any animal can bite there is no real findings that it is a specific breed. If you really do your homework there has been less Pitbull attacks then any other breed. please educate before saying ridiculous comments.

        • ChildrenFirst!

          February 2, 2022 at 10:07 pm

          Why do you want children to die? The CDC has documented the fact that pit bulls kill more people than any other breed. Replace pit bulls with golden retrievers and you will save the lives of hundreds of children. Why do you want children to die for a breed of dog that was bred to maul other dogs to death?

          • Common Sense and Sensibility

            February 2, 2022 at 11:19 pm

            ARE YOU KIDDING???? You think ANYONE wants to see a child die???? That is the kind of propaganda DBO and NPBVA fanatics propagate. Fatal dog bites are at the bottom of a long list for deaths relating to fatalities in children. You would be far better off closing down playgrounds, skate parks and the like. Sadly there is NO talking to people who are filled with hate for an animal that no amount of science, nor millions and millions of beloved innocent family dogs living in great homes throughout North America make a difference. I believe speaking to you is a serious waste of time, intellect and energy and believe this is not about children for you but about fear mongering and taking down ANY and ALL dogs that LOOK a certain way. If one were to group ALL the long haired breeds dogs together, as DBO does in their stats and give them a “handle” like “pit bulls”, the numbers would probably be about equal. There are an estimated 78 MILLION dogs in the US – and around 35-38 dog bite fatalities a year -not ALL children! Check out the number of children who die in playgrounds or by their own caregivers hands every year and compare. Dogs, (or rather a TYPE of dog), is not a real nor serious problem in the US but hate and discrimination is. Have at it, CF but do not think for a minute people with common sense and sensibility will not see past an agenda.

  • A concerned American

    January 27, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Science does indeed back up that bully breeds were specifically bred for gameness and dog aggression. Their sole purpose was for bull baiting and then later, dog fighting. Removing the ban will have a negative impact on the community. It will create an unsafe environment for both people and their pets. It is also making it a lot easier for dog fighters to hide in plain sight wherever bans get lifted. A quick google search will tell you how prolific this horrible blood sport has become in recent years. Many busts have happened recently, but no one wants to put the pieces together that allowing these breeds of dogs opens the door to dog fighters and breeders. If you truly care about the breed, don’t try to push them into communities. More harm than good is happening by lifting these bans and innocent people and pets are pay for it with their lives!

    • ChildrenFirst!

      February 2, 2022 at 10:08 pm

      It is also interesting how the pit bull lobby buckled when it was suggested that pit bulls be genetically analyzed to determine which genes are responsible for their tendency to maul so many children to death.

  • Miami #305

    January 27, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Have you visited Miami Dade?. there are many, many bully breed dogs living peaceful lives as they have been deemed less than 90% pitbull.. It is impossible to identify accurately if a dog is a pitbull as most of the ones are mixed breeds. UF study showed how visual id was not effective for id breed of dogs and especially bully breeds. I can not believe people still support profiling!
    Anyone involved in illegal actions should be arrested and punished. And dog fighting is illegal btw.
    please share you scientific peer-reviewed studies. The CDC is opposed to breed bans as well and they track dog bite incidences! Follow the science!

  • OchepeeDanson

    January 27, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    Pitfalls are a shit breed propagated by trash people. Keeps bans and expand the definition to include the pittmutts.

    • #RepealBSL

      January 28, 2022 at 11:33 am

      Do you honestly think any sane person is going to listen to anything you have to say when you refer to the dogs as “sh*tbulls” and the owners as “pitbull nutters” and then proceed to call both of them trash?
      Your irrational hate towards a group of dogs only hurts any chance of rational human being listening to you.. Politicians and Law Makers make decisions to pass laws based on evidence, data, and expert opinions NOT anecdotal stories, fear mongering, and bias statistics. I am CONFIDENT this bills will pass as all the evidence backs our position that BSL is garbage legislation that doesn’t work.

      • Irial

        January 28, 2022 at 5:33 pm

        A breed of dog selectively bred to be aggressive and unrelenting once triggered to attack, they will fight to the death…theirs or their victims. It is almost impossible to stop one short of killing it once it attacks anything or anyone else. Dog fighting however, is now illegal…but hundreds of years of selective breeding did not just change pitbulls overnight into ‘pets’.
        This is a breed that no longer has a valid purpose. It kills dozens of people a year in the United States alone and mutilates many many more.
        Genetic purpose cannot be erased by wearing a tutu or flowers. A breed of dog specifically created to kill is still a killing breed.

        • Fran C

          January 29, 2022 at 1:30 pm

          Dear Irial; One can bred for physical traits but one cannot bred for aggression. The breeds of dogs mostly used are because they do NOT turn on the dogman in the fighting rings no matter how brutally treated. Fact is that if a dogman can get even one dog out of a full litter to fight, he would be doing well. Also FYI dogfighters cull dogs that show human aggression as the dogman are in the pits with the dogs and It is not uncommon for dogman to clear out a fighting dogs throat during breaks by pulling out hair and tissue to ensure a dogfight continues. Dogfighting really became popular during the great depression as a way of supporting families with MOST of the dogs initially raised as family pets. Check out Jim Gorant’s book “The Lost Dogs” based on the Michael Vick dogfighting case and his follow up book called “The Found Dogs”. You could also watch the documentary titled “Off The Chain”, as you clearly need to educate yourself in this area. The reason dog fighting became a CRIMINAL offence is because it is extremely brutal and cruel. PEOPLE not dogs build the pits and make the bets on the outcomes. People train and terrorize the dogs to do what does NOT normally come natural for them. Dogs caught up in the nightmare of dog fighting would much prefer to be raised by real families in loving caring homes as many millions upon millions of them are and have been.

      • John Jackson

        February 2, 2022 at 3:34 pm

        Fighting to save a breed that kills for sport… so great… why do you pit supporters think your pit dogs are immune to their horrible genetics? What’s wrong with normal breeds that don’t kill for sport? Promoting and saving your precious blood sport breed does one thing, ensure they have another victim to latch onto. You don’t raise, love, or train out genetics unless its a pit bull type breed right?

      • ChildrenFirst!

        February 2, 2022 at 10:19 pm

        Do you honestly think that any sane person should listen to you when you show no concern for the hundreds of American children who have lost their lives over a single breed of dog? Replace all pit bulls with golden retrievers and save the lives of children! This should be debatable in any society that values the lives of children.


      February 6, 2022 at 5:51 pm


  • Fran C

    January 28, 2022 at 10:18 am

    These bills to end unjustified discrimination are way overdue. No dog is dangerous based on appearance as breed specific legislation (BSL) is not based in science but on hype and appearance. BSL has been around for over 30 years and has been shown in science to be a worldwide failure. The typical banned breeds rate in the top 23% of all breeds tested by the American Temperament Test Society and tests consistently over 100 different breeds of dogs on a regular basis. The hype, propaganda, and myths, like locking jaws, spread by some on “pit bull” type dogs is beyond the pale. The true American Pit Bull Terrier standard weight at maturity averages 65 lbs and the breed passes the temperament test society at 87.4%. Dogs are dogs, they are not lions, tigers, bears or giant sharks as some who promote breed bans have indicated. Enough of the hype and hate. The science is in, end all the breed bans.

Comments are closed.


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