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Miami-Dade pit-bull ban critics urge Florida lawmakers not to back off proposed repeal

Opponents of Miami-Dade's 23-year-old ban on pit-bull ownership geared up for a legislative battle Wednesday, urging their backers to ask state Rep. Carlos Trujillo to keep fighting to repeal the county's prohibition.

A committee of Miami-Dade commissioners agreed Tuesday to put the ban to voters this fall -- a move intended to stop Trujillo from pursuing HB 997 (and its companion, SB 1322), which would do away with the exemption in state law that allows Miami-Dade to be the only county in Florida with a ban on a specific dog breed.

Dahlia Canes, who leads the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, sent out a plea to her supporters Wednesday asking them to call and e-mail Trujillo, a Miami Republican, urging him not to back away from his legislation. She also urged them to reach out Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, the bill's Senate sponsor, and to Commissioners Sally Heyman and Lynda Bell, who said the county shouldn't take any action until seeing the outcome of the legislation in Tallahassee.

"The issue with the Miami Dade County Commissioners being discussed was primarily of a power struggle between Tallahassee and this county," Canes wrote in her own message to Trujillo. "The Florida Legislature also represents this county, as this is an issue that affects ALL of Florida residents, not just in Dade County and they cannot vote in these August elections."