MIAMI (Legal Newsline) – Two nonprofits are challenging a Florida county's ban that outlaws pit bulls or those who exhibit the physical characteristics of the dogs.
Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation Inc. and Blue for Vets Inc. filed a complaint on Oct. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Miami-Dade County, Florida citing the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.
According to the complaint, the defendant enacted the ordinance in 1989, which made it unlawful for pit bulls to be sold, purchased, obtained or brought into the county. The plaintiffs allege that many MCABSL members own dogs that would be considered pit bulls under the ordinance and that BFV has provided service pets to disabled veterans that would also qualify.
"Defendant's policy of forcing plaintiffs' members to surrender their companion and/or service animals to the city for destruction or to transfer their dogs to individuals who reside outside of Miami-Dade County, where there is no evidence that the animals posed a threat to public safety, violates plaintiffs' members' liberty and property interests protected under the 14th Amendment," the suit states.
The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment against defendant declaring the ordinance to be unconstitutional, enter an injunction requiring defendant to repeal the ordinance, attorney's fees, costs of action and further relief as the court deems just. They are represented by Ryan H. Lehrer of Tripp Scott PA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida case number 17-C-23716