Pit Bull Ban Nixed: County Commissioner Sharief Now Wants Control of "Backyard" Dog Breeding

Categories: Broward News

pit bull.jpg
No mention of pit bull ban this time.
Months after stinging public rebuke and the condemnation of hundreds of dog owners, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief has canceled requests for a pit bull ban and instead called for a "culture" that makes it mandatory to neuter and spay canines and more regulation on "backyard" dog breeding.

Following two separate community meetings with dog specialists and bite victims, Sharief and company also want more money in 2014 for additional animal control specialists and to train local cops on animal control.

All of the agenda items will go before the County Commission in May.

See also:
- Pit Bulls Much Less Aggressive Than Other Breeds, Study Says
- Broward County May Ban Owning Pit Bulls

Tepid though these proposals may be, they represent the bruising Sharief sustained after she requested permission last February to ask the state to allow Broward to ban pit bulls -- a move that raised eyebrows because (a) the state likely wouldn't grant it, and (b) the ban was wildly unpopular.

At least judging from the backlash Sharief took. Hundreds of emails deluged the Broward County Commissioner's office in the days after the news broke, causing her to backpedal and soften the wording of the proposal. She told New Times she'd mistakenly lifted the exact phrasing from codes regulating Miami, which banned pit bulls decades ago, and plopped it into her own proposal.

Even with that amendment, dozens of protesters inundated the county meeting, hoisting signs defending their right to own pit bulls, and one local official described the drama as "mass hysteria."

When confronted with scientific research that found pit bulls on average less aggressive than other breeds of dogs -- Sharief was steadfast.

"I disagree with that science," she told New Times in February. "We've done considerable research on this, and we've found [pit bulls] have a more aggressive nature. It's due to the fact that they have a tendency to kill small things. Pit bulls don't just go after something to harm it; they go after it to kill it." Indeed, in October 2011, two children were attacked by pit bulls in Deerfield Beach. Then in May of last year, a pit bull mauled a 77-year-old man in Miramar.

Sharief said she's seen too many victims of pit bull attacks to not act. In 2012, the Sun Sentinel reports, more than 300 dog attacks occurred in Broward County, and pit bulls accounted for half of those episodes.

But this time, she's couched her proposals in more conciliatory language. Gone are the words "pit bull." She now says she's after "aggressive dogs."

That, of course, sinks her further into a quagmire sure to anger some canine owners. How does one quantify "aggression"? To one onlooker, a dog may appear bellicose -- but to another, that same animal won't.

But for the most part, Sharief defenders say, she isn't seeking bold new measures but to enforce regulations already in law.

The Broward County Animal Care and Adoption center picked up nearly 5,000 stray dogs in 2012. Most of those animals were discovered in southern Broward County, near the Miami-Dade border -- where Sharief says most dog attacks happen.

In June, the commission will discuss additional fines against negligent dog owners, who abet aggression in their animals.

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The majority of people want these 4-legged demons banned as evidenced by the vote in Miami-Dade last August. Pit bull advocates converge on cities/counties where bans are proposed and instead of listening to their own constituents, lawmakers give in to the nutters. I'll bet if Broward County took it to the people the way Miami-Dade did, an overwhelming majority of the citizens would vote to ban pit bulls. It's high time lawmakers stopped pandering to the nutters. Citizens need to make their voices heard at election time by letting it be known the reason they're not voting for a particular council person, or whatever, is because he/she failed to take a hard line on pit bulls-type dogs!


It's really a shame that Broward County has let itself be intimidated by a hoard of non-residents into backing down. The pit bull lobby always does this. They put out notices to have pit fans from as far as Timbuktu descend upon a small town and tell residents there they aren't allowed to do anything to stop pit bull attacks. 

It would have been better to hold a referendum. Then you get to hear the voices only of registered county / town residents. Everywhere it's put to referendum, the vast majority wants pit bulls banned. These pit bull people are only 0.78% of the population -- it's time to stop letting them dictating to the rest of us. 


The pit bull drooler's don't get it, they are in effect demanding that they be able to walk around with a loaded.

hand gun, round chambered, safety off with a hair trigger & that we all smile when they point it at us.

Pit bulls or Pit bull cross, same difference, same outcome, same reality as to what they are.

And all Pit bulls or restricted dogs including pit bull crosses by law should have leashes and Muzzles which they almost never have, this should become the law everywhere, and all to often you see them running around as such unmuzzled, this is an even greater problem then them being unleashed.

Pit bulls and Pit bull crosses and others like mastiffs, Rotts etc. attack and kill and maim while normal dogs bite, that is the big difference in the outcome and should result in a completely different attitude towards these dogs and why they should be banned outright.

The stats are very clear and accurate and show this reality even if you want to put your head in the sand, it still is what it is.

Certain breeds like Pit bulls etc.are fundamentally evil in nature and action and do not deserve the freedom of action to carry out their DNA.

"Pit bulls are different; they're like wild animals," says Alan Beck, director for the Center for the Human Animal Bond at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, IN. "They're not suited for an urban environment. I believe we should open our eyes and take a realistic approach to pit bulls."

A 1993 Toronto study found pit bulls accounted for 1 percent of licensed dogs but 4 percent of bites. More ominous is a 2000 study by the Centers for Disease Control looking at 20 years of data on fatal dog attacks in the U.S.

Of 238 such incidents in which the breed of the attacking dog was reported, “pit bull-type dogs” were involved in 32 percent of them while being 1% of the population.

Pit Bulls should be banned from inside city limits anywhere.


HORSWELL BB, CHAHINE CJ, oral surgeons

Dog bites of the facial region are increasing in children according to the Center for Disease Control. To evaluate the epidemiology of such injuries in our medical provider region, we undertook a retrospective review of those children treated for facial, head and neck dog bite wounds at a level 1 trauma center. 

Most dog bites occurred in or near the home by an animal known to the child/family. Most injuries were soft tissue related, however more severe bites and injuries were observed in attacks from the pit-bull and Rottweiler breeds. 

Younger (under five years) children sustained more of the injuries requiring medical treatment. Injury Severity Scales were determined as well as victim and payer mix demographics, type and characteristics of injury, and complications from the attack.

DR RICHARD SATTIN, chief of unintentional-injuries section of the Centers of Disease Control
We're trying to focus public attention on this greatly underestimated public hazard.

In 1979, pit bulls accounted for 20 percent of fatal attacks by dogs. That figure had risen to 62 percent by 1988. 

Nobody knows the dog population of the United States or the exact breakdown by breed. We do not believe that pit bulls represent anywhere near 42% percent of dogs in the United States. Therefore, we believe that the pit bull excess in deaths is real and growing. 

As a pediatrician I was disturbed to read Vicki Hearne's assertion that there are no bad breeds, just bad dogs (Op-Ed, April 15). There is ample evidence to suggest that certain breeds of dogs are more dangerous to children than others.

From 1979 to 1994, there were 177 known dog-bite-related fatalities in the United States. Of these fatalities, 66 percent were caused by five breeds: pit bull, Rottweiler, shepherd, husky and malamute. 

If you include crosses among these five breeds, that number rises to 82 percent. Other breeds, like Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers were not implicated in a single fatality during this same period.

I laud the American Kennel Club's attempt to include information about dog breeds considered ''not good with children'' in the coming edition of ''The Complete Dog Book,'' and lament the fact that the book is being recalled at the request of some breeders.
Seattle, April 16, 1998

Dr. EDGAR JOGANIK (after trying to reattach scalp and ear to a pit bull victim)

Pit bull attacks are typically the most severe, and in about one-third of all attacks, the animals are family pets or belong to close friends.

That should be the message, that these dogs should not be around children, adults are just as likely to be victims.
Everyone should be extremely cautious.

When a Pit Bull is involved the bites are worse. When they bite, they bite and lock and they don't let go... they bite lock and they rip and they don't let go.

Bites from pit bulls inflict much more damage, multiple deep bites and ripping of flesh and are unlike any other domestic animal I've encountered. Their bites are devastating - close to what a wildcat or shark would do.

DR. AMY WANDEL, plastic surgeon
I see just as many dog bites from dogs that are not pit bulls as bites from pit bulls. The big difference is pit bulls are known to grab onto something and keep holding so their damage they create is worse than other breeds.

DR. PATRICK BYRNE, Johns Hopkins Hospital
I can't think of a single injury of this nature that was incurred by any other species other than a pit bull or a rottweiler.

As a practicing emergency physician, I have witnessed countless dog bites. Invariably, the most vicious and brutal attacks I have seen have been from the pit bull breed. 

Many of the victims have been children. In a recent study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, pit bull attacks accounted for more ER visits than all other breeds combined.

In young children, the most common part of the body injured was the face. Numerous studies have proven that the number-one cause of dog bite fatalities is the pit bull breed. 

I am certain that many attacks are due to owner negligence, but the fact remains that many were unpredictable and were perpetrated by formerly "loving and loyal" pets.

Dr. Chagnon has every right to leave our town as she claims she will if pit bulls are banned, just like every one of her patients has the right not to attend her clinic where she brings her pit bulls. 

I applaud Mayor Pro Tem Joanne Sanders for bringing this issue to the forefront. In the interest of public safety, I recommend we enforce a spay/neuter requirement on pit bulls while reviewing and revamping all of our policies relating to animal bites.


MARK WULKAN, MD, surgeon at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

"There is a difference with the pit bulls. In the last two years we've seen 56 dog injuries that were so severe the patient had to be admitted to the hospital so this doesn't count just a little bite and then goes to the emergency room. Of those 56, 21 were pit bulls. And then when we look at our data even further, of the kids that were most severely injured, those that were in the hospital for more than 8 days or had life threatening injuries, 100% of those were pit bulls.

STEPHEN COHN, MD, professor of surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center
“I think this is a public health hazard, this particular dog. We just have to have them contained in a way that protects the general public. I don't want to see another kid come in dead.”

JOHN BINI, MD, chief of surgery at Wilford Hall Medical Center
“There are going to be outspoken opponents of breed legislation, who say: ‘My pit bulls lie with my baby and play with my rabbit.' And that's fine. I just think we're seeing something here, and I think it does warrant a discussion as to whether this is a risk that a community wants to take.”

“Fortunately, fatal dog attacks are rare, but there seems to be a distinct relationship between the severity and lethality of an attack and the breed responsible,” they wrote in an article published in the April issue of the medical journal Annals of Surgery. “These breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated.”

DAVID E. BLOCKER, BS, MD, Dog Bite Rates and Biting Dog Breeds in Texas, 1995-1997
Bite Rates by Breed page 23
One out of every 40 Pit Bulls (2.5%) and about one out of 75 Chow Chows (1.4%) generated a reported human bite each year (Table 29; Figure 7). 

One out of 100 Rottweilers (1%) caused a reported bite, and less than one out of 250 German Shepherds (0.37%) bit a human each year, not statistically different from the average for all dogs combined (0.53%). 

Huskies, Dobermans, and Australian Shepherds had bite rates slightly lower than German Shepherds but higher than Labrador Retrievers. 

Less than one in every 500 Labrador retrievers (0.15%) was associated with a reported bite each year. All other breeds examined individually, including Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Dachshunds, had bite rates lower than Labrador Retrievers.

Odds ratios for each of the five most commonly biting dog breeds versus all others presented similar findings (Table 30). The odds of a Pit Bull in Bexar County causing a bite were 5 times greater than the odds for all other breeds combined, at 4.9 to 1. 

Chow Chows and Rottweilers also had odds ratios significantly greater than the average, at 2.9 to 1 and 1.8 to 1, respectively. The odds ratios for German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers were significantly lower than the average, at 0.67 to 1 and 
0.26 to 1.

PETER ANTEVY, pediatric E.R. physician, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital
Dr Antvey sees at least five dog-bite victims a month in his emergency room. Unfortunately, he said, "the biggest offender is the pit bull."

The reality is that any dog can bite, and statistically speaking, a child is most likely to be bitten by the family dog or a dog that they know. When you're talking about bite severity resulting in life-threatening and even fatal injuries, pit bulls and Rottweilers are the main culprits.

Experience absolutely colors our perception, and in this case I can't help but be affected by what I've seen. I will never forget a young child I treated in the ER during my pediatric residency. She suffered severe facial lacerations and tears to her face after a pit bull attack in her local park.


Merritt Clifton · Top Commenter · Editor at Animal People

I have been logging fatal and disfiguring dog attacks since September 1982. 
Of the 4,011 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occuring in the U.S. & Canada in the past 30.5 years:
2,474 (62%) were pit bulls.
3,218 were of related molosser breeds, including Rottweilers, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes, as well as pit bulls. 

Of the 504 human fatalities.
251 were killed by pit bulls.
373 (69%) were killed by pit bulls & other molosser breeds. 

Of the 2,216 people who were disfigured.
1,415 (61%) were disfigured by pit bulls.
1,810 (82%) were disfigured by pit bulls & other molosser breeds. 

Of the total deaths and disfigurements by pit bulls, approximately half have occurred in the past five years. 
Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls are less than 5% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%. 

This is, in short, a repetitively predictable phenomenon which is occurring more & more often, and, incidentally, is resulting in about 10 times as many animal deaths & disfigurements by pit bulls as are suffered by humans.


Myth: Pit Bulls have been called the Nanny Dog

Truth: This myth was started by statements made by two people. Mrs. Lilian Rant, President, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America, magazine editor said they are referred to as a nursemaid dog in an interview published in the New York Times in 1971.

Second in 1987 Toronto Star article where Breeder Kathy Thomas, president of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Association said “In England, our Staffies were called the nanny-dog”.

No sources, citations or evidence just two biased people heavily invested in trying to change the image of Pit Bulls made these statements and started this whole myth.

The "nanny dog" is a complete historical fabrication. The sole known published reference to the "nanny dog" notion, before the rise of opposition to breed-specific laws in recent decades, came in a 1922 work of fiction, Pep: The Story of A Brave Dog, by Clarence Hawkes, a blind man who wrote by dictating his stories and, though able to spin a gripping yarn, routinely muddled his facts. 

This work of fiction also appears to be the point of origin of many of the other popular myths about the history of pit bulls. Indeed some dogfighters did photograph their pit bulls with their children, to help advertise the sale of their cull dogs as pets, but that hardly means pit bulls were safe pets. 

One of the most notorious of these gents, professional dogfighter John P. Colby, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, produced his first pit bull litter in 1889. The Boston Globe on December 29, 1906 reported that police shot one of his dogs, who mauled a boy while a girl escaped. On February 2, 1909 the Globe described how one of Colby's dogs killed Colby's two-year-old nephew, Bert Colby Leadbetter.

The entire history of the "nanny dog" myth is outlined here:


20 children murdered by dogs last year in the US and ALL by Pit Bulls.

12 people killed by dogs in the US so far this year 8 of them children, all by Pit bulls.


Lakritz: Pit bulls really are the problem, not their owners

By Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald April 23, 2013

The catchphrase that comes up whenever people talk about banning dangerous dog breeds is wearing a little thin: “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.”

So, in the wake of a Leger Marketing survey that showed seniors are likeliest to favour banning pit bulls and other scary breeds, what are we supposed to do about bad owners?

The answer is nothing. Nothing can be done about bad owners, because bad owners do not recognize themselves as such, nor do they appear to be aware that their dogs are dangerous and out of control. Why, Poopsie wouldn’t hurt a fly!

Round and round it goes, as it always has.

Unlike Winnipeg, which banned pit bulls more than 20 years ago after a little girl had her face horribly scarred during an unprovoked attack, Calgary emphasizes fines, education and responsible pet ownership.

The responsible pet owners are already doing all the right things. But name me one person who would ever admit to being an irresponsible dog owner. Ain’t gonna happen.

A couple of years ago, I was out walking with my border collie when a pit bull tore the leash from its owner’s hand, dashed across the street and attacked my dog. Its owner just stood there and watched, as I did my best to separate the dogs. The woman said nothing; she didn’t even offer an apology. 

Does anyone think she has admitted to this day that she’s an irresponsible pet owner? Of course not. But what she left in the wake of her irresponsibility, and her failure to train and control her dog, was a once-friendly border collie who now shows aggression to every dog he meets, out of the fear engendered in him by that one attack.

When pit bulls maul humans, the damage they do is horrific. Yet, people just keep mouthing the platitude of “no bad dogs, only bad owners.” Platitudes are not solving the problem.

Calling the debate outdated, dogsbite.org, a public education website based in Austin, Texas, which tracks dog bite statistics, says the idea that “it’s the owner, not the breed, has caused the pit bull problem to grow into a 30-year-old problem. 

Designed to protect pit bull breeders and owners, the slogan ignores the genetic history of the breed and blames these horrific maulings — inflicted by the pit bull’s genetic ‘hold and shake’ bite style — on environmental factors. While environment plays a role in a pit bull’s behaviour, it is genetics that leaves pit bull victims with permanent and disfiguring injuries.”

Dogsbite.org says those who perpetuate the myth about bad owners “also cannot account for the many instances in which pit bull owners and family members are victimized by their pet dogs. 

From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls killed 151 Americans ... Of these deaths, 52 per cent involved a family member and a household pit bull. Notably, in the first eight months of 2011, nearly half of those killed by a pit bull was its owner.”

Last year, there were 38 fatal dog attacks in the U.S., the group says, with pit bulls contributing to 61 per cent (23) of those deaths, even though the breed makes up “less than five per cent of the total U.S. dog population.”

More than 600 cities have pit bull bans or regulate the breed somehow, as does San Francisco with mandatory sterilization of pit bulls. Dogsbite.org stats show that in 2004, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, 29 pit bull bites were recorded — 23 per cent of all the city’s dog bites that year. 

A pit bull ban began in 2005, and in 2006, there were only six pit bull bites. In 2008, 2009 and 2011, there were none, with 2010 having one.

Between 2005 and 2012, pit bull bites accounted for 60 per cent of all dog-bite deaths. Adding Rottweilers, the two breeds caused 73 per cent of those deaths. Rottweilers, says dogsbite.org, are “the second most lethal dog breed,” although they bite much less often than pit bulls.

A University of Manitoba study last year “shows that breed-specific pit bull laws lowered the overall rate at which people were hospitalized with serious dog bite injuries over a 22-year period.”

All dogs can bite. But as dogsbite.org points out, “whether a pit bull bites more or less than another dog breed is not the point. The issue is the acute damage a pit bull inflicts ... The pit bull’s ‘hold and shake’ bite style causes severe bone and muscle damage, often inflicting permanent and disfiguring injury. Moreover, once a pit bull starts an attack, firearm intervention may be the only way to stop it ...

“One bite by a poodle that leaves two puncture wounds is recorded the same way as a pit bull mauling, which can constitute hundreds of puncture wounds and extensive soft tissue loss. Despite the ‘quagmire’ of dog bite statistics, pit bulls are leading bite counts ...”

It’s time for Calgary to stop being content with platitudes and institute a ban on pit bulls and pit bull mixes. How many more Calgarians will receive “permanent and disfiguring” injuries before the city does the right thing?

Naomi Lakritz is a Calgary Herald columnist. nlakritz@calgaryherald.com


Do you really think it serves any purpose to keep cutting and pasting the *same exact* post under different screen names all around the internet. Can't you even come up with a new post? Anti-BSL is winning because it's common sense, while the pro-BSL crowd is riddled with eccentrics like you. 


While anti BSL, pro pit advocates celebrate what they consider victories. We mourn another death . Thus far this year there have been 11 fatal dog attacks in the U.S. In every one of these deaths only one breed (type) of dog has been the killer .The pit bull has been the only type of dog to take human life so far this year. Please Pray for the families and loved ones of the following .(Beau Rutledge, 2 years old)(Jordyn Arndt 4 years old )( Claudia Gallardo, 38 years old ) (Tyler Jett, 7 years old ) (Monica Renee Laminack, 21 months old) (Daxton Borchardt, 14 months old ) ( Ryan Maxwell, 7 years old ) (Isaiah Aguilar, 2 years old ) ( Esile Grace, 91 years old ) (Christian Gormanous, 4 years old ) (Betty Todd, 65 years old ) What kind of people find celebration while lives are lost. At this rate within the next 10 to 20 days We will be adding another innocent victim to this list. Please join Us to bring regulation that will reduce the mauling and killing.https://www.facebook.com/ProtectChildrenFromPitBulls?hc_location=timeline


"I disagree with that science," she told New Times in February. "We've done considerable research on this, and we've found [pit bulls] have a more aggressive nature.

Some local hack politician has done 'considerable research' which now puts her in a position to contradict what virtually everyone with actual veterinary science credentials has concluded? That lady is not too bright.

That said, at least she has been forced into a rational approach by her local electorate, and the state's BSL ban (which she never had a snowball's chance of gaining an exception to). That is, *breed neutral* focus on the actual problem: irresponsible dog ownership, of which lack of spay/neuter and deliberate amateur breeding are among the worst examples. Actually enforcing laws and/or stiffening penalties against letting dogs run loose is another thing to focus on in a rational approach to the vicious dog problem.


Good to see someone who was basing proposed legislation on the fallacy that is the media do some ACTUAL research with credible sources and move towards responsible ownership of ALL breeds of dogs.



Yep, I saw this same exact post this the other day on another news story. Your name is Dennis. Look, just because your grand daughter was bit by a pit bull, doesn't mean you need to go all nuts and spend 24/7 posting on news articles about pit bulls. Besides, you just make more and more enemies and the people in town think you are a lunatic. Find something better to do with your time, because you aren't even scratching the surface in your way. What you are doing, is making pit bulls more popular to people that want a dog people fear. In essence, you are feeding the problem. You can do what you want, but I'm just letting you know. I would not agree with banning any breed, but then again, I understand dogs and I am educated in canine behavior. No one cares about your sob stories either, as that is force feeding propaganda down peoples throat. Most people don't like that, and will do anything to oppose it. Promote responsible ownership, rather than advertising pit bulls as the scary dog.


@clayhundenshire @baker1017: ClayHundenshire: Instead of sticking your nose into what's going on in Florida, shouldn't you be concerned about what's happening with Senate Bill 969 in your own state of Massachusetts? 

FYI, no one has to advertise "pit bulls as the scary dog," pit bulls and their owners are doing an excellent job of that themselves because not a day passes that a pit bull-type dog somewhere in the US does not attack and badly injure (sometimes kill) someone, usually a child. So far this year, 15 people in the US have been murdered by dogs and pit bulls were responsible for 14 of those deaths!


@clayhundenshire @baker1017  Hound You are Known as the lunatic. Our support is growing while you live and die on personal attacks. Lack of supporting facts have left You a very poor advocate for Your cause of breeding pit bulls. 

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