Pitcher Mark Buehrle found himself between a rock and a hard place when it came time to sign his name on the dotted line in Miami. Before agreeing to a four-year, $58 million dollar contract with the Marlins in December, the lefty had to figure out how he and his family could move to South Florida because of a law banning various breeds of Pit Bulls in Miami-Dade County, on the books since 1989.
Buehrle, his wife Jamie and their two children are proud owners of Slater, an American Staffordshire Terrier (pictured above), along with three Viszals (Diesel, Drake and Duke), and do a lot of work with animal organizations.
If you recall, Buehrle stirred the pot after Michael Vick’s first season with the Eagles after the quarterback was reinstated following a federal prison sentence for his role in operating a vicious dog fighting ring.
In a joint interview with his wife for MLB.com, Buehrle said of Vick, “He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game, and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt. Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”
Strong words that were undoubtedly echoed by many animal lovers worldwide, and equally condemned at the same time. Buehrle, who as a result of the ban in Miami-Dade county is living farther away from the Marlins’ facility in Broward County, also lent his opinions on the Pit Bull law to the Miami Herald.
“It’s kind of ridiculous that because of the way a dog looks, people will ban it,” Buehrle told the Herald. “Every kind of dog has good and bad, and that depends on the handlers. If you leave a dog outside all the time, it’ll be crazy. Slater would never do anything harmful.”
In an unscientific poll I’ve conducted, the postal workers in my neighborhood (all of whom have been bitten by dogs on the job) all perceive small dogs as more of a threat than Pit Bulls based on the the pooches that have attacked them. Yipper yappers, as I call them, can be quite dangerous themselves. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover.
Like Buehrle, I too am a bit biased as I own a Pit Bull mix who is the sweetest, friendliest dog you’ll ever meet. A law banning a specific breed of dog is just one of many reasons why dogs end up on the streets, abandoned and in the pound. A blogger on Yahoo Sports made a great point that not every family has Mark Buehrle money, and if you are forced to move for a new job, what choice are you left with in terms of the family pet? It’s really a shame to even think about a situation like that.
Luckily, the Buehrle family has the resources to take a new job and keep their dog. Hopefully the fact that Buerhle made a stink about it will raise awareness in the Miami area, perhaps influencing an eventual overturn of the ban.