Pit bulls find their way to Broward
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Banned in Miami-Dade, pit bulls find their way to Broward

As Miami-Dade County voters consider undoing a ban on pit bulls, BrowardCountyresidents have a reason to care. Broward has become a dumping ground for the dogs that are considered outlaws to the south.

Broward animal control leaders say pit bulls are hand-delivered or just abandoned on the streets here, because of the 23-year ban, and finding homes for pit bulls is difficult because they can’t be released to Miami-Dade residents.

Since 2009, 85 pit bulls ended up in the Broward County dog pound that were brought directly from Miami-Dade County. Another 435 pit bulls were picked up during that time from the streets of south Broward, their origins unknown.

“We have a lot of pit bulls,” said Lisa Mendheim, spokeswoman for Broward County Animal Care & Adoption. “Can’t say they all came from Miami, but it definitely impacts what we have here.”

Last year, 50 pit bulls — including dogs of various breeds with pit bull characteristics — were brought to Broward’s pound from Miami-Dade, records show.

Broward bears the cost of caring for them — about $20 a day each, county officials said.

The good Samaritans who delivered pit bulls to Broward’s pound from Miami-Dade might have thought they were doing a good deed, saving the dogs from euthanasia.

But the kennels of Broward are so full of pit bulls, they fared poorly here as well.

Of the 85 from Miami-Dade, 62 were put to death, according to the county. Broward has been putting a little more than 40 percent of all its dogs to death in recent years, including owner-requested euthanasia.

Broward County commissioners a month ago embraced a no-kill goal for its shelters. But that will mean finding homes for hundreds and hundreds of pit bulls.

Inside the kennels of Broward, dog after dog is an American bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or some pit bull mix, overshadowing other breeds.

Of the 7,446 dogs in Broward’s pound last year, 2,388 of them — or 32 percent — were pit bulls, according to data from the county.

Another one arrived Thursday. Larry Gould said he was dropping off his adopted pit bull, Brutus, because Brutus can’t get along with Gould’s three other pit bulls.

“It breaks my heart,” he said, tearing up.

In August, Miami-Dade voters will decide whether to overturn the ban. The state has since said that breed-specific bans cannot be done.

Fans and detractors of the “bully breeds” are equally passionate, and the ban has been likened to racial profiling.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Director Dianne Sauve said it’s tragic to stereotype the breed “as vicious animals.”

The public will vividly remember news accounts of pit bull attacks on humans, she said. But “they won’t remember that during World War I they were the dogs that went into battle with American soldiers,” she said. “They were called America’s dogs.”

“Unless they’ve been trained for fighting, they’re slobber pusses,” said Kimberly MacPherson, a grant-writer at the Humane Society of Greater Miami. “They just lick you to death.”

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