This past Tuesday, the Prince George’s County Council voted 7 to 4 in support of an amendment to keep a 22-year-long ban on Pit Bulls in the county. Council member Jolene Ivey is encouraging the public to weigh in, stating, “I’ve heard from people who want to lift the ban; I’ve heard from people who not only want to keep the ban, they want it more strongly enforced.” Ivey’s statement proves the contentious nature of the pit bull ban, which animal advocates are calling “inhumane and ineffective”
Pit Bull Ban History
Since 1997, Pit Bulls have been outlawed in Prince George’s County, the second most populous county in Maryland, bordering the Eastern side of Washington DC. It is the only jurisdiction in the D.C. region that has a breed-specific ban, yet hundreds continue to be impounded by Animal Control every year. According to the Washington Post, last year, Prince George’s County impounded 687 Pit Bulls, and euthanized more than 400. Only 283 were place in rescue, shelters, or returned to homes. So far this year, 492 pit bulls have been impounded, 52% of those euthanized. While the Pit Bull ban stands, the community is showing no signs that they will be allowing for eradication of the breed.
Before Pit Bull Bans came to the United States and Pit Bulls became America’s favorite dog, Old English Bull dogs were bred to bait bulls into immobility for sport in the 1800’s. As immigration to America began, families kept their Pit Bulls due to their high intelligence and family friendly manner, garnering the Pit Bull a new nickname: “Nanny Dog.” Over a decade ago, the uncovering of Pit Bull fighting rings, helped bring public attention to the dangers of Pit Bull fighting, but also their ability to be rehabilitated and placed into loving homes.
Today, the ASPCA, asserts that “dogs, including pit bulls, are individuals. Treating them as such, providing them with the care, training and supervision they require, and judging them by their actions and not by their DNA or their physical appearance is the best way to ensure that dogs and people can continue to share safe and happy lives together.” Many fighting against the ban are hoping the council will focus its legislative powers on penalizing dog owners of all breeds that improperly care for their pets, and those animals that actually demonstrate violent behavior.
While the council struggles to overhaul the Pit Bull ban, advocates are fighting harder than ever to champion county residents’ right to own these dogs. The Humane Rescue Alliance has partnered with coalition of organizations working to repeal the antiquated ordinance. Dan D’Eramo, Director of Field Services, testified before the Council’s Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment advocating for the repeal Pit Bull ban. Pit Bull advocacy groups are hoping to make an impact through letters to council members, rallying community support, and attending council meetings to fight the ban. Contact the Prince George’s County Council members and the At-Large Council members and urge them to support the repeal of the Pit Bull ban.
A public hearing on the county’s animal control policies has been scheduled for Nov. 19.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks
District 1 – Tom Dernoga
District 2 – Deni Taveras
District 3 – Dannielle Glaros
District 4 – Todd Turner (Council Chair)
District 5 – Jolene Ivey
District 6 – Derrick Leon Davis
(The shelter is physically in District 6….Upper Marlboro)
District 7 – Rodney S. Streeter
District 8 – Monique Anderson-Walker
District 9 – Sydney J. Harrison
Member at large – Mel Franklin
Member at large – Calvin S. Hawkins, II
US Mail addresses:
1301 McCormick Drive
Largo, MD 20774
<Council Member’s Name>
Prince George’s County Council
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772