Beyond the Myth Update
Beyond The Myth is a documentary covering breed-specific legislation in Miami, Denver, Cincinnati, and San Francisco. Screenings have been held across the country since the Fall of 2011, and PBLN was invited to a panel discussion after the movie was shown in Jacksonville, Florida. Below is a U-Tube video of the panel discussion.
What's Happened Since the Movie Was Made?
Beyond the Myth on PBLNR
Beyond the Myth writer, director, and producer Libby Sherrill recently joined PBLN Radio for a roundtable discussion about the making of the film, how the film affected those who appeared in it, and the impact it had on those who have seen it.
At the conclusion of Beyond the Myth, Dias v. The City of Denver was just going up on appeal for the second time. Much has happened since the movie was made. This article will tell you what that is.
Dias v. City of Denver — Court Rules in Favor of Dias
The appellate court ruled in the Dias case, sending the case back to the trial court for a trial on the merits. The City had been granted a summary judgement on the issue of whether the breed ban was "rationally related" to public safety and this was the basis of Dias' second appeal. The court held that based on the record (which can be found here) an issue of fact existed as to whether the breed ban was rationally related to public safety. The court order, which is must reading for any pit bull advocate, can be found here. The court declared, "With this record, a reasonable trier of fact may find that Plaintiffs’ experts are correct and there exists no rational basis for a breed specific ordinance. Accordingly, summary judgment would be inappropriate." The case was sent back for trial on the rational basis test. Thus, there is finally court precedent for questioning breed bans, and it comes from a federal court.
Dias Settles Case Against City of Denver
After the above appeal, the Dias case was now ready to go to trial. There had been years of litigation, expenses, and emotional upheaval for the plaintiffs. Fund raising would be necessary to continue. Sonya Dias therefore decided to settle the case, thereby leaving the precedential ruling questioning a rational basis for breed bans. Sonya Dias discussed the case and her decision to settle it on Pit Bulletin Legal News Radio. You can listen to her interview via the player below.
Florida Legislators Fail to Close Miami-Dade Loophole, Referendum Soundly Defeated
Florida state legislators attempted to pass a state law that would close the loophole that allowed the Miami-Dade breed ban to exist. After passing each committee, the law was tabled. Miami Dade, under the guise of home rule, persuaded the legislature that if they did not eliminate the breed ban, it would be submitted to a public vote via referendum.
The referendum was doomed from the start. The language used for the ballot was confusing and prejudicial. Beyond that, after twenty years of the ban, polling showed 50% of the public was in favor of it. And how was it debated? The mother of the original victim which caused the ban argued emotionally against having the ban revoked. It was soundly defeated at the polls despite support from the Miami Herald.
Cardelle v. Miami Dade a bright light from the Dade County Courts
The only bright light in Miami comes from the courts. In Cardelle v. Miami Dade, the county court, serving as an appellate court, ruled that Miami-Dade animal control officers are not scientically qualified to make a visual breed identification. It would be interesting to know how the county is currently making breed identifications in light of this ruling.
San Francisco—Mandatory Spay/Neuter Continues
The San Francisco mandatory spay/neuter of pit bulls continues. It was discussed at length on Pit Bulletin Legal New Radio with Dawn Capp, Esq., who played a major part in the movie. On the show, she discussed the impetus behind the ban, enforcement, and the result for pit bulls.
Ohio—State Breed Ban Reversed,
Cincinatti Breed Ban Overturned
In a major victory for pit bull advocates, Ohio's statewide breed ban was reversed. As a result, many jurisdictions followed suit. To listen to the PBLNR show that covered the politics and sucesses of the advocates in reversing the Cincinnati breed ban, click here.
While there have been some setbacks, there have also been major victories in Ohio and Cincinnati. As advocates, we should study the tactics and methods that have led to sucess, and soldier on.