Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Buehrle is in rare company when it comes to his baseball skills. He is one of only 20 pitchers to throw a perfect game in the 135-year history of professional baseball. He shares this spotlight with greats like Cy Young, Sandy Koufax and Catfish Hunter. Buehrle is not so esteemed, however, when it comes to how he and his family’s pet, a pit bull terrier, are treated by Miami-Dade County where the family recently attempted to move after Buehrle signed with the Miami Marlins team. In Miami-Dade, Buehrle is persona non grata as long as one of his pets of choice is a happy, friendly dog named Slater (pictured below with Buehrle’s children and three other dogs) who falls under the county’s ban on pit bull terriers.
Buehrle, who had to move with his wife, Jamie (a Best Friends spokesperson), children, and four dogs to a development in south Broward County, was prepared to blow off the four-year, $58 million contract if he was unable to find alternative housing in the area that would accept his dog. It sounds like he had his priorities right to me.
Florida state law prohibits breed-discriminatory legislation, but an archaic wrinkle in the state law gives Miami-Dade an exemption from the ban. However, help is on the way in the form of House Bill 997/Senate Bill 1322, a bill spearheaded by Best Friends Animal Society that will repeal the Miami-Dade breed ban that costs the lives of close to 1,000 innocent dogs per year.
In addition to Best Friends, many national organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association, oppose the enactment of breed-discriminatory laws. The Platte Institute, a conservative think tank in Nebraska, has also declared that laws targeting specific dog breeds are a waste of tax dollars.
Breed bans cost lives and money and don’t make communities safer because they don’t target dangerous dogs. They target the way a dog looks based on myth and misinformation. Progressive laws favored by Best Friends and other national animal welfare organizations target dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners and result in safer communities.
If you live in Florida, we need your help. Your legislator needs to hear directly from you that you want to live in and be part of a safe and progressive community and state. Tell your legislator to support HB 997 and SB 1322.
Please make your voice heard.
Senior Director, Communications