Good Dogs, Unleashed!

Wilmington’s mayor looking to repeal ridiculous pit bull laws!
May 3, 2012, 3:41 pm
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Wilmington’s Mayor Baker is looking to FINALLY repeal the ridiculous breed specific legislation that’s been on the books for almost 12 years. The law in Wilmington requires all pit bulls to get special registration through the Delaware Humane Association ($30 for life)  be spayed or neutered (GOOD) and prohibits any breeding. These rules aren’t that terrible, and aren’t a bad idea for all dogs. The bad part? Pit bulls are not allowed to be off leash (even in designated off-leash dog parks) and are required to be muzzled when in city parks.

Cities across the country with pit bull specific legislation have shown no decrease in dog bites after laws have been enacted. Miami-Dade County has had one of the most brutal pit bull laws in the country, banning the breed all together, and residents will be voting to repeal that law in August, citing no change in their bite statistics over the past twenty years. In fact, large cities across the country have seen reductions in dog bites by about 90% over the past 35 years, while Miami-Dade has only seen an 80% decrease, most of which (43%) occurred before the pit bull ban in 1989. Miami-Dade is the only Florida county to ban pit-bulls, yet their residents accounted for 16% of the states reported dog bites in 2007, despite the fact that the county only holds 13% of the state’s total population.

Countless cities across the country have breed specific legislation on the books, but many are realizing that they are useless if not detrimental. Delaware is currently looking for a new animal-control contractor to replace the Delaware SPCA when their contract expires this summer, and they are unlikely to find someone willing to take the job with this law being enforced. The Kent County SPCA who currently handles most animal control issues for the state has a strong stance against breed specific legislation and has not publicly commented on whether or not they will be bidding on the contract.

Regardless of the law, if you take a drive through the city of Wilmington, you will no doubt see many pit bulls who are not following the rules. I saw unneutered and off leash pits constantly while living in the city and was subject to plenty of advertisements for “prohibited” litters of puppies for sale. That being said, the good pit bull owners are sure to be happy to have these laws off the books, if only to show momentum toward the elimination of breed bias by lawmakers and animal control officials across the country. Hopefully we’ll see this repeal happen sooner rather than later.


Piper, an adoptable pit mix at the Delaware Humane Association, via