Pitbull bans and provisional breed restrictions. What is the difference?
A pitbull ban is just that. It’s a ban that prevents dogs with specific physical characteristics from living within a city or county that is enforced by law. Provisional breed restrictions don’t flat out ban a specific type of dog, but there’s usually a lot of red tape that makes it harder to own one. In either case, they’re pretty ineffective. They don’t reduce dog bites as public servants would like their constituents to believe. They don’t create safer communities and they don’t work to produce more responsible pet-ownership. What they do accomplish however is a massive loss of innocent life. That’s exactly the situation in Polk County, Florida.
Polk County is located in Central Florida and makes up the biggest county in the state, by area. As the largest county, they also have one of the largest animal control operations as well. With that comes a high inflow of animals on a year basis, most of whom are bully breeds. Statistics show that since 2018, Polk County has held the title of the top kill shelter in the state of Florida, while ranking number four in the entire United States. And what it always comes down to is space, time and money.
Animal Control Services are government funded agencies. And most often, they rank pretty low on the list of importance. When you don’t have the money needed to run an operation that services the largest county in an entire state, you don’t have the manpower to run it and you lack the resources to support it. This leads to overcrowding and with that comes euthanasia.
In Polk County you can’t walk into Animal Control as a resident and adopt a pitbull or bully breed. This is a provisional breed restriction. A pitbull or bully must first be pulled by a rescue organization and then placed into a foster or permanent home through their own adoption and screening process. By creating this middle step (or provision), they shorten the amount of time that animal has before they get bumped up on the list for euthanasia. The longer an animal sits waiting to be pulled by a rescue who has the resources to care for them, the less time they actually have to survive that wait.
This is exactly the problem that Polk County Bully Project (PCBP) aims to tackle. PCBP was founded with the direct intent to help pull bully breeds from Polk County Animal Control as fast as they can, to give as many dogs as possible the fighting chance at the lives they deserve. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, they are a small shelter and foster-based rescue whose mission is to reduce euthanasia rates within Polk County. Achieving this requires a direct relationship with their community to help educate their residents on the truth about bully breeds and helping to change the stigma that surrounds them. They work closely with Animal Control to combat these harrowing statistics and have a lofty goal to become a no-kill community by 2025.
A decade ago, there were fewer than 10 communities across the country known to have achieved the recognized no-kill benchmark of a 90% save rate through adoption, fostering and internetwork rescuing between non-profits. Today, thanks to considerable lifesaving progress and improved data collection, the number of no-kill communities now exceeds 5,400 with Delaware leading the charge as the first no-kill state! Pet-ownership has changed drastically from what it used to be with more people understanding that all dogs - no matter their outward appearance - are sentient beings deserving of a loving home. Polk County Bully Project aims to take that shift in mindset and use it as momentum to not only save lives but to achieve their goal of no-kill status.