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President Obama Supports Broward Pit Bulls

In the wake of a still-simmering controversy, which pushed the legality of pit bulls in Broward County into question, President Barack Obama announced earlier this week that he doesn't consider any legislation that bans a specific dog breed to be sound governance.

And, for a moment at least, pit bulls in Broward County are safer than they've been in years.

Even Broward County Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief, who was cutting in her condemnation of pit bulls during her push this year to ban the breed, has changed her politics on the matter.

See also: Photos - Broward County's Most Adorable Pit Bulls

"The only thing I can say is that from my perspective, I found an alternative to breed-specific legislation."

This is a little different than how she sounded earlier this year:

"We have more supporters than backlashers," she told New Times in February. "And all I have to say to you is wait until it's your pet or your child that has been attacked. Those people have a totally different appreciation for the situation."

"We've found [pit bulls] have a more aggressive nature," she continued. "It's due to the fact that they have a tendency to kill small things. Pit bulls don't just go after something to harm it; they go after it to kill it."

Now, however, Sharief says she was misguided before. She doesn't regret stirring the public pot, she says, because that outrage spurred solutions that wouldn't have surface otherwise -- politicalese for cut-and-run.

See also: Pit Bulls Much Less Aggressive Than Other Breeds, Study Says

"I worked for a year and a half on this issue," she said. "The majority of people I spoke to wanted breed-specific legislation. But now, after the animal lovers got ahold of the issue, we have a lot of solutions I never would have come up with."

Which, perhaps, can satisfy the big guy. In light of the newest addition to the White House, a Portuguese water dog named Sunny, he's gone pretty soft on K-9 issues -- and taken a stance that directly contradicts Miami-Dade's pit bull ban.

We don't support breed-specific legislation -- research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources...As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the Center for Disease Control recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that's a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.

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Terrence McCoy

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