Ending BDL in Prince George’s County

August 7, 2012  

Despite studies proving it’s ineffective, this county continues to enforce breed-discriminatory legislation – the time to end that is now

By Kirstyn Northrop Cobb

Prince George’s County is a large county in Maryland, located along the Washington, D.C. border. Prince George’s County motto is “A Livable Community.” But this is not the motto for the pit bulls.

In 1996 Prince George’s County enacted a ban on American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Currently, this ban costs the county approximately $1.2 million a year and has had no impact on the number of reported dog bites. In 2003, an independent group reviewed the law and found that it actually had a negative impact on public safety because animal control officers were stretched thin and investigating reported “pit bulls” in the county and were not able to respond to other violations. So why is this ban still in place?

In 2009, Mayor Craig Moe, of Laurel Md., a town in Prince George’s County, appealed to the then county executive, Jack Johnson. Jack Johnson said that he would not repeal the ban, end of story. Well, Jack Johnson is no longer is office. In fact, he’s in jail on fraud charges. His successor, Rushern Baker, promised to improve animal control during his campaign. Yet, the ban is still not overturned, and they’re euthanizing just as many dogs as ever. When recently asked about the ban, former Prince George’s County animal control officer, Melissa Douglass, said: “The majority of calls that we got on pit bulls were not because the pit bulls were dangerous, but because neighbors just wanted to complain. Unfortunately, most of the pit bulls that we confiscated were owned by responsible families, and I had to take their family member away because of a law that makes no sense.”

But, as we’ve seen in the past, sometimes all it takes is a push in the right direction. And those who have been affected by this ban think that now is the time. A Facebook page has been started to oppose the ban as well as a petition. Please help us help the pit bulls of Prince George’s County.

(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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3 Responses to “Ending BDL in Prince George’s County”
  1. This is near and dear to me, it’s been difficult to conjure up support to fight this in PG County.  Weekly I take risk when I visit family and friends because I take Sasha & Krush with me.  I’ve corresponded with Major Moe of Laurel and he’s been extremely supportive as well as Chief Taylor (Director of Animal Services) however, it’s the higher ups that shoo us away like pesky flies around a picnic plate.  When I reached out to Executive Rushern Baker recently he hid behind Maryland Court of Appeals ruling which is why will be front and center this Thursday at the states capital pleading the case of pit bulls & their guardians.  Once Maryland Court of Appeals ruling is overturned they will have to deal with us because there’s nothing for them to hide behind.  The good news is many of the delegates & senators appear to be on our side it’s getting Governor O’Malley and others to be logical.  It’s going to take more than signatures on a piece of paper (not negating it’s importance) however, our faces and voices need to be seen and heard. 

  2. iancuuu says:

    PG County is a dump for many reasons, and county commissioners and power-hungry bureaucrats seem to think that they can solve its problems by just shooing away all the pesky “other people” (you know, THOSE people, the people we don’t want in our community, the type of people who own pit bulls). The way dogs look is not the problem- the dogs aren’t the ones committing muggings and rapes, the dogs aren’t responsible for the desolation and urban sprawl, it’s not the dog’s fault that, even with a high-end state college in the county, no one wants to go there because it’s a pit. 

  3. PattiSteely says:

    Let’s stop the prejudice of the pit breeds as “Bad” dogs!