In 1997, the Prince George’s County Council passed breed specific legislation banning dogs described or resembling a pit bull terrier, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier. Today, that antiquated ban is still in place. This legislation has not prevented the breeds–often friendly, loveable, family pets–from entering the County or the City of College Park. However, enforcing the ban is subjective to the individual evaluations of Prince George’s County Animal Services supervisors.
Experts like the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Animal Care and Control Association agree that no breed of dog is inherently dangerous and reject policies based solely on breed.
Backed with this information, local animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Rescue Alliance have met with members of the Prince George’s County Council in hopes of removing the breed specific legislation from the revision of the Animal Control Ordinance which was presented to County Council on September 17, 2019. Currently, the breed specific language (Section 3-185.01) remains in the drafted revision.
City’s Animal Welfare Committee members is asking the repeal of the “pit bull ban” will reduce the stigma of the breed, increase the Prince George’s County live outcome and provide an outlet for happy, social dogs to be adopted to local families and households, including those in the City of College Park. City staff believe that enforcement of the breed specific legislation costs tax-payer money (often, with no true resolution) and often breaks up happy households with the removal of a family pet. We believe that an endorsement from the City of College Park, a municipality within Prince George’s County that provides concurrent Animal Control Services to City residents, will provide an insight that the County Council has not yet been presented with.
The Animal Control Ordinance has been referred to the Prince George’s County Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee for discussion. The first review was held on September 26, 2019. A public hearing has not yet been scheduled.
At this week’s meeting, the City Council will discuss the proposed legislation and whether to support AWC’s proposal to lift the Pit Bull ban.
[City of College Park]