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Packed House For Broward Pit Bull Ban Debate

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A pit bull owner showed up at the Broward Commission as they prepared to take up a proposal which would ban the breed in the county.  (Source: CBS4/Ted Scouten)

A pit bull owner showed up at the Broward Commission as they prepared to take up a proposal which would ban the breed in the county. (Source: CBS4/Ted Scouten)

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A call to ban pit bulls in Broward County is put on hold after an emotional day at Commission chambers.

The day began with a collective groan from pit bull lovers after commissioners announced they would take a lunch break before hearing from dog lovers.

“We had to take off from work! Shame on you!” yelled one woman.

They’re fighting a proposal that ultimately calls for a ban new pit bull ownership in Broward. Protesters showed up with their dogs to make their point.

“These are our children,” said pit bull owner Katie Rhoades, “I think you should punish the owners for treating them and abusing them and training them to do what they do.”

Commissioner Barbara Sharief wanted the state to allow local governments to decide if pit bulls should be banned. Current state law does not permit bans on specific breeds. Sharief said pits are dangerous.

“A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 94% of the attacks on children by pit bulls were unprovoked,” said Broward Commissioner Barbara Sharief.

Dozens of people lined up to argue that point — saying it’s dog owners, not the dogs, who are to blame for bad behavior.

“You do not, repeat, do not have a pit bull problem,” said animal activist Dahlia Canes while speaking to the commission. “You have a spay neuter problem, an animal abuse problem, a dog fighting problem and an irresponsible ownership problem but you do not have a pit bull problem!”

The Humane Society of Broward County agrees dogs like Trinity here are not the problem it’s the owners who don’t socialize their dogs.

“Dogs are social creatures,” explained Cherie Wachter from the Humane Society of Broward County. “They want to be part of the family, they want to do things with the family’s and having it live in the back yard is just not good.”

The commission did pass a new law that would increase the fine for teaching a dog to fight. That is now $500. They also increased the fine to $300 for people who do not vaccinate their pets.

The proposal to ban pit bulls is not dead. Commissioner Sharief said she will try to re-work it and bring it back before the commission.

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