Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Prince George’s Council OKs Amendment to Keep Pit Bull Ban

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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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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