Animal Services staff members can remember only one court-ordered dog death in the past 12 years: Five years ago a judge ordered two American Bulldogs to be euthanized after they almost killed an 80-year-old man.
“It’s extremely rare,” said Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz.
The high-profile mauling of a waitress over the Labor Day weekend by a black Mastiff breed called a Cane Corso at the Van Dyke Café on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach is the type of incident that would fall under Diaz’s proposed ordinance, said Assistant County Attorney Dennis Kerbel, who wrote both of Tuesday’s bills.
Witnesses said that as Amy Calandrella bent down to give the Cane Corso named Olympia a bowl of water, Olympia bit her face, which required more than 300 stitches. Though Calandrella is considering legal action against the dog’s owner, she has not filed a complaint with the county. Muñoz said his department has initiated a dangerous-dog case nevertheless
Kerbel said Diaz’s proposed ordinance, if adopted, would apply retroactively, meaning a photo of the Cane Corso, her information and a brief report of the attack at Van Dyke would be posted on the county’s dangerous-dog website. The owner also would be likely to face a $1,000 fine, he said.
The proposed law has caused some concern among advocates who see a big difference between an aggressive animal and one that is provoked. Michael Rosenberg, president and founder of Pets’ Trust Miami, an agency created to save animals, said he has no issue with a website providing information about a dog that “bites out of the blue.”
“But if it’s taunted, it’s not necessarily a dangerous dog,” said Rosenberg. “Humans have a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law; dogs should have it, too.”
Dangerous-dog registries are not uncommon. Orange, Seminole and Charlotte counties have online sites similar to the one proposed for Miami-Dade. Some cities have created dog hearing boards that determine penalties and punishment.
Muñoz expects his department to receive close to 100 dangerous-dog complaints a year. The ordinance would be “in place to protect both people and pets. This just makes [the current ordinance] stronger, and educates the public,” he said.