The Prince George’s County Council passed an amendment Tuesday which essentially keeps a 22-year ban on pit bulls.

The 7-4 vote to outlaw the specific breed of dog doesn’t affect the county’s plans to overhaul its animal control ordinance.

The amendment came after a committee recommended approval Oct. 10 to repeal the ban.

Regional and national advocates have claimed bans aren’t necessary, especially with Prince George’s remains the only jurisdiction in the D.C. region to outlaw a specific breed of dog.

Council member Mel Franklin (D-At-Large) of Upper Marlboro, who presented the amendment to keep the ban, read county health department statistics that outlined a 43 percent reduction in dog bites between 1996 to 2010. The ban went into effect in 1997.

“We do a lot of unique things in the county. Other jurisdictions do their own unique things. We don’t have to necessarily copy everybody else,” he said. We’re about Prince George’s County first. We’re not pushing anybody else’s agenda.”

Council Vice Chair Rodney Streeter (D-District 7) of Hillcrest Heights said constituents he’s spoken to have fears of pit bulls, “real or perceived.”

“Any new amendments to the way we try to hold accountable those citizens who own those dogs, I just don’t have faith that behaviors will change to the extent it won’t further endanger our community,” said Streeter, who voted for the amendment.

The other five council members who voted to keep the ban were Tom Dernoga, Calvin Hawkins, Jolene Ivey, Deni Taveras and Monique Anderson-Walker. Four colleagues — Derrick Davis, Danielle Glaros, Sydney Harrison and Council Chair Todd Turner — opposed the measure.

“I’ve met pit bulls my entire life,” said Harrison (D-District 9) of Upper Marlboro. “There are some very, very, very gracious pit bills. But there’s also some very mean dogs wherever you go.”

Davis warned his colleagues the discussion isn’t over. The county scheduled a public hearing on the animal control policies Nov. 19.

“The work is not going to get easier,” said Davis (D-District 6) of Upper Marlboro. “It’s not going to get less contentious. It’s going to be public outcry on both sides, so populism is not your friend in this situation.”

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Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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