It's only Tuesday and there has been a LOT of legal news and information this week -- so I'm going to hit a few of the highlights in case you missed them.
Miami-Dade has a 23 year old ban on pit bull type dogs. It has been the subject of several legal challenges, including one in which the law violated due process due to the arbitrary nature of enforcement and nearly repealed by the state legislature earlier this spring.
In order to stop the state repeal, the city opted to put the subject up for a vote in a city-wide election -- which will be held next Tuesday, August 14. County Commissioner Sally Heyman noted that the ban was "an emotional respnse to a travesty in 1989...Now it's time for us to make an intelligent decision."
I don't know if this is the first vote of its kind, but I'm not aware of any other situation where a breed ban has come up for a public vote. It's a tough, up-road battle for the advocates in this situation as most Miami residents haven't seen a law abiding Pit Bull owner in 23 years -- and there are fewer pit bull enthusiasts there than in other places where they aren't banned. However, an August vote will be fairly light at the polls, which could allow for pit bull advocates to be very influential. On the flip side, August elections generally draw older voters who will likely be opposed to the repeal.
The people opposing the repeal are up their normal fear tactics -- raising fears that if the law is repealed pit bulls are going to be 'running loose all over the place' -- as if Miami's leash law will be repealed also.
There are a lot of high profile advocates down there, including Marlins Pitcher Mark Buerhle and his wife Jamie, and the issue has been getting quite a bit of press (and the repeal got the support of the Miami Herald), so there may be a good turnout. Will be very interesting to watch.
Yesterday, the American Bar Association passed Resolution 100 that urges legal professionals to pass breed-neutral dangerous dog laws that focus on behavior of dogs, not their looks. This resolution continues the trend of there being no professional support for breed-specific laws. Congrats to the folks at the ABA.
It looks like the Maryland General Assembly is going to have a special session in which they will discuss making legal changes that will over-ride a very controversial court ruling this spring. This would be a great step in overturning the controvsial and ill-advised court ruling. This would be great to not have to wait until the regular session for this to be inevitably overturned.