This week comes news that Miami Marlins’ pitcher Mark Buehrle was willing to pass up a deal with the South Florida baseball team because Miami-Dade county has a ban on pit bull ownership.
In December, Buehrle signed a $58 million, four-year contract with the club. But he reportedly wasn’t willing to make the move unless he and his wife Jamie could find a house in a community that would accept their adopted pit bull and three Vizlas.
The Buehrles are avid supporters of animal causes; in 2010 the couple did a series of PSAs for AdoptAPet.com, appearing on billboards and commercials in support of animal adoption. Buehrle also founded the Sox for Strays program, which featured adoptable animals at White Sox games once a month. That’s in addition to his other causes, visiting military hospitals, and children’s hospitals to spend time with kids with cancer.
Animal lovers reacted with loud voices and lots of support over the recent story about retired police officer Jim Sak and his service dog Snickers. A pit bull ban in his town of Aurelia, Iowa forced him to give up his dog, and then led to a lawsuit that temporarily reuinted man and dog. It was likely the first time most people had ever heard that there are places in the country where specific breeds of dogs are banned.
With Buehrle’s move to Florida and his own experiences with breed discrimination laws, let’s hope that he’ll continue his animal rescue efforts in his new home. The cause needs a celebrity name to bring the issue to the mainstream, not just in the animal rescue community.