Senate Agriculture Committee bites on dangerous dog bill

'The dog that bites the most is probably the smallest one of them all ... the Chihuahua.'

Sen. Ileana Garcia’s proposal to bar local governments from discriminating against pit bulls and other powerful dogs got through the Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday after she pointed out Chihuahuas bite even more.

Her bill (SB 614) would eliminate state authorization for cities and counties to prohibit certain types of dogs based on breeds. That would be replaced with authority for cities and counties — and public housing authorities as well — to develop bans of certain dogs based on the dogs’ temperament.

Essentially, the legislation would roll back anti-pit bull ordinances that were popular in the 1990s when that breed in particular became the focus of concerns over vicious dogs. Since pit bulls got that bad-boy image, they have exploded in popularity, becoming one of the nation’s most popular breeds.

“We just want to create a focus on the fact that this should be based on the temperament of the animals, not necessarily on certain incidents and situations that might have magnified this to a particular breed, such as pit bull or Rottweiler or German shepherd,” said the Miami Republican.

“As a matter of fact, the dog that bites the most is probably the smallest one of them all. Well, two of them: the Chihuahua and the politician,” Garcia added. “The Chihuahua in this particular case.”

The change would effectively nullify Miami-Dade County’s regulations and restrictions on owners of “pit bull dogs.” Garcia said other locales — she mentioned Tallahassee — also have bans on specific breeds.

The bill received support Thursday from several animal groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

There was no objection from the Agriculture Committee, which voted 8-0 to forward SB 614 to the Senate Rules Committee, its third and final stop before the floor.

“I think this bill does a great job of putting the emphasis where it should be, and that’s on whether a dog has a poor temperament or poses a danger, and not specifically looking at breeds. Let’s look at the behavior of the dog and make our decision based on that,” said Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley of Orange Park.

The House counterpart (HB 721) from Republican Rep. James Buchanan also has cleared two committees.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • BK

    February 11, 2022 at 8:19 am

    JFC. Anyone who tries to compare a bite from a chihuahua to a bite from a pit bull has obviously fallen out of the idiot tree and hit every branch on the way down. She sounds like your stereotypical pit mommy who would gladly blame a child for being mauled.

  • Lex Taylor III

    February 11, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Do people think that Pit Bulls as a breed have a good temperament? I know there are exceptions, just like there are for Chihuahua, but the Pit Bull is singled out because it was bred to be an attacking animal. If you look at numbers, I would not be surprised if Pit Bulls were not right behind the Chihuahua for dog bites. FYI, almost no one is carrying insurance for a dog bite anymore so good luck recovering for your hospital stay after the Pit Bull bite. I doubt you will go to the hospital from a Chihuahua bite.

  • Valerie Brown

    February 11, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Lol! What kind of insanity is this?
    Dog breeds are purpose bred to exhibit specific behavioral traits. Beagles trail rabbits, Collies herd sheep, Pointers point birds. Temperament = behavior = breeds.

Comments are closed.


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