MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County will retain a ban on owning pit bulls. With all 829 precincts reporting, 63 percent of voters said the pit bull ban should remain in place compared to just 37 percent who said it should be repealed.
Last May, Miami-Dade commissioners voted 11-1 to end the ban if voters approve in the August Primary Election.
The controversial ban is the only one in Florida and was imposed after a member of the breed attacked a girl in front of her home.
“I am always self-conscious, always insecure because of the scars,” said Melissa Moreira.
Her scars are a daily reminder for her and her mother Pilar of February 19th, 1989. A neighbor’s pit bull had gotten loose and was sitting on their driveway when then 8-year old Melissa and her mother walked up.
“I mean it didn’t give us any warning, any chance to do anything,” Pilar said. “It took a quarter of her lip and her scalp was all the way back.”
“We were able to pass an ordinance to keep kids safe and to keep this from happening again,” said Moreira.
At the time, the decision was hailed by many as a life-saving law, but over the years the wisdom of – and the need for – the decision has been questioned by a growing number of critics.
The Florida legislature tried – and failed – to erase Miami-Dade’s law in the past session after Marlins player Mark Buehrle and his wife was forced to settle in Broward County so he could keep his family pet, a pit bull named Slater.
While the legislature could not muster the support for change, county commissioners took a fresh look at the ban and listened to critics who said it was unfair and unnecessary.
No other county in the state bans a single breed of dog. Dade was allowed to do so because of the unique nature of its “home rule” charter.