The bill passed the Senate but failed to make it anywhere in the House.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill that would have repealed remaining bans on owning pit bulls and other dog breeds in Florida has failed the legislature.
SB 614 passed in the Senate, but did not advance after being sent to the House.
Had the bill passed, it would have meant that pit bulls could no longer be discriminated against in ordinances and would only be judged by their behavior, Florida politics reports.
While the bill would have allowed local governments and housing authorities to impose certain additional restrictions or requirements on dog owners who have a history of biting or attacking people or animals, these restrictions or requirements do not could not be applied to an entire breed of dog.
“There is no scientific evidence that there is any particular breed that is dangerous,” said Senator Ileana Garcia., the sponsor of the bill, said earlier Florida politics. “What we saw was during COVID, a huge increase in our shelters in Miami-Dade… We just couldn’t handle the amount of animals coming in because people were transitioning into public housing. »
She said at the time that dogs should not be distinguished by breed.
“Race-based restrictions are inaccurate, outdated and refuted to keep communities safe. These bills would prevent Florida families from having to choose between putting a roof over their heads or keeping their beloved pet,” wrote Laura Donahue, director of legislation and advocacy for the Best Friends Animal Society, in a statement earlier this year.
Dahlia Canes has long fought to change the law after her dog was rescued by animal services. She founded the association the Miami Coalition Against Race-Specific Legislation. She says she is not surprised with the outcome of this legislative session as it is the same thing that happened in 2012.
“I’m a badass, but at that point I literally fell asleep. In the morning, I woke up with my pit bull’s head in my face, and I looked at her and jumped off that couch. I went out ‘ok, let’s do this. Go ahead, and here we are again,” Canes said.
Another non-profit association, the Polk County Bully Project says Florida is in the minority when it comes to having responsible animal welfare laws. It ranks third in euthanasia rates in the United States.
“We are saddened that another bill in response to animal welfare has failed the Florida Legislature. There is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or pets. People should choose housing over their beloved pets,” said co-founder Angelia Lorio.
Although nothing has passed the state legislature, there is a bill in Congress called the Family Owned Pets Act which would offer some of the same protections.
10 Libby Hendren of Tampa Bay contributed to this report.
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