A proposal to ban pit bulls in Broward County, which has roiled the community for days, was withdrawn today at the county's commission meeting.
Two other proposals, one of which carries a $500 fine for training pit bulls to fight and another that imposes a $300 fine for failing to vaccinate a pit bull, were passed.
But the most contested element of the meeting, a motion by Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief, who wanted to lobby the state Legislature to allow Broward County to ban pit bulls, was met with scores of angry protesters today, inveighing against the proposal.
Her office, however, greeted the withdrawal with optimism.
"This wasn't a disappointment at all," said one spokesperson. "It's a positive step. The penalties in place right now for pit bulls aren't as stiff as they could be. And this is a victory for those who want tougher penalties for those who teach dogs to fight. This is a major victory for Broward County."
The withdrawal marks the end of an extremely sharp and extremely fast retreat by Sharief.
At the end of last week, she said she was confident the motion would pass and used forceful language in calls to ban all pit bulls in Broward County.
Then, Monday afternoon, she tempered the motion's language so that every pit bull already in Broward County -- if approved by the state Legislature -- would be granfathered in. She told New Times she'd worked years on this proposal and was surprised that it was met with such fierce opposition.
New Times will update this story as more developments occur.