News and Views
Our dogs are family
If you would like to tell the Prince George's County Council how you feel about BSL in Prince George's County, here's a good starting point. Take this letter and make it your own. The councilmembers' email addresses are embedded in the post.
We need YOU! Join the Volunteer Force today!
It takes a village. Become a part of it!
In order for the federation to remain effective, we are looking for key volunteers who are willing to take on critical roles as we embark on the "Appeal to Repeal" the Prince George's County breed ban this year, as well as other new and ongoing statewide legislative efforts. Such roles include meeting with elected officials, submitting letters to the editor, sending emails to local lawmakers, and making phone calls at crucial times before a vote. We are looking for folks who will reach out in their virtual community as well as those who want to help other dog owners with outreach in their neighborhood. Help your neighbor with access to important pet resources like spaying and neutering or behavior management...it will help keep dogs at home - where they belong! If you're bilingual -- help us translate!
If any of this interests you, please fill out the Volunteer Force survey form. It's the best way to let us know which issues matter to you and how you'd like to take action.
We'll keep you - the Volunteer Force members - updated as we go along. There will be many ways to make a difference so stay tuned.
You can end breed discrimination in Prince George's County!
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP! NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!
You: Live, work, play, do business in Prince George's County.
You: Think the "pit bull ban" is wasteful, ineffective, unnecessary, and doesn't make the public safe.
You: Want the nightmare of benign family pets seized from their families to end.
It's Time: Ask the county council to repeal the "pit bull ban" today.
First Step: Read some helpful info sheets. Facts, figures, helpful hints
Next: Reach out to lawmakers.
Send the Maryland Dog Federation an email with the subject line: "Please repeal Prince George's dog breed ban!" In the body of the email, you can write your heart out, or write nothing at all. Write as if you are sending the email directly to the council, but send it to the federation instead. We will compile ALL the emails we receive, print them up put them in a box,and deliver them by hand to the councilmembers.
Use your own words or borrow some here.
More information at the federation website or facebook page. And below.
Prince George's County has a discriminatory law that prohibits the keeping of American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers and dogs mixed with any of those breeds. It also includes very disturbing vague language that says any dog displaying the physical characteristics of any of these breeds is banned, but it does not state what those characteristics are. Visual breed identification is known to be, at best, a guess. The ordinance is ineffective, costly, subjectively enforced, detrimental to current residents, potential residents, local businesses and regional municipalities. Eliminating the law would actually improve public safety.
A Washington, DC metropolitan region suburb with almost 900,000 people, Prince George's County, Maryland's 20+-year long dog ban is the second largest in the U.S. But Prince George's County has dangerous dog laws, nuisance animal laws, leash laws, cruelty and negligence laws that apply to ALL dogs regardless of breed. These are the laws that protect the public, not BSL. The ban does not improve public safety; in fact, the enforcement of the ban takes animal control officers away from the very duties that keep our communities safe.
READ: Prince George's Sentinel, August 13 - Residents continue to fight pit bull ban 20 years later
READ: Prince George's Sentinel, August 20 - Prince George's pit bull ban forces some residents to relocate
The ban costs between $300,000 and $500,000 a year to enforce...even in years that the county had raised taxes, furloughed employees, cut school funding and other essential services, it continued, and continues, to fund this unnecessary law. Almost 700 dogs were impounded in 2015 as a result of the ban, over 15,000 since the law began...the vast majority of whom, according to animal control, are perfectly normal family pets that would not otherwise be taken into custody. The lucky ones will lose their homes, families, and everything familiar to them; the unlucky ones will lose their lives.
All this while breed labeling is no more than a guess.
Many families who want to move here cannot. Many move out when their dog is threatened. Many who do move here realize too late that their dog is illegal, forcing them to hide their furred family member and live with the concern that their dog might be seized from them. Still others have their dog ripped from their homes and their hearts. Many owners are forced to surrender their dogs, sometimes under the threat of arrest, even at gunpoint. Once surrendered, all rights to appeal the seizure of their pet dog is forfeited, and their dog is lost to them forever. The same dogs impounded by the county are the 4th most popular dog in Maryland...yet no other county in the region feels a ban is necessary.
Because it is not necessary. Many dogs that are taken away from Prince George's families are ultimately taken by rescues and shelters outside the county. If these dogs are good enough to be pets outside the county, they are good enough to be our pets here. Our dogs are being taken from us -- right out of our living rooms and away from children who love them, for no other reason than what the look like and because their owner lives in Prince George's County.
You're a dog owner and you vote. Take action today.
Has your dog been seized and taken away by the county? Did you give your dog away in order to save it? Did you decide not to move here because of the breed ban? If you have you been affected by the Prince George's County Pit Bull Ban, we want to hear from YOU! We STILL want to hear about your experiences. Take the survey here.
Infographic: All Dogs are Individuals