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Student Activists Say Local Law Unfairly Targets Pit Bulls

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Miami Law alumnus James Cueva; students Morgan Nati and Mia Logan

Kneeling in front, Dahlia Canes and her pit bull, Blueberry. Standing from left to right, Miami Law alumnus James Cueva; Morgan Nati, President of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund's Miami Law chapter; and Mia Logan, the chapter's Vice President of Community Relations. (Photo: Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

Representatives of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation spoke out recently at Miami Law against a law that bans pit bulls and similar dogs from Miami-Dade County.

The law school's chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund sponsored the event, whose topic of concern will be especially timely in coming months. A proposed ordinance overturning the legislation will be on the ballot in Miami-Dade's primary election in August.

"As a practicing attorney and UM Law grad, I believe it is my duty to speak out against this unfair and discriminatory law on the books since 1989," said James Cueva, JD '03, a speaker at the event who currently serves as general counsel for the coalition. "I look forward to the day when all dogs will be judged by their character and not just their physical appearance."

Dahlia Canes, the coalition's founder, echoed Cueva's sentiments. "Education and awareness are a must to combat the ignorance and fear that follows breed specific legislation," she said. "What better place to bring the education forth than in the classrooms of our future generations?"

Law students and community members attended the lunchtime event, leaving only standing room in the classroom in which it was held.

"The event gave me new insight into the state of breed-specific rights in South Florida," said Mary Wolff, a first-year Miami Law student. "Now I know how to get involved in the animal welfare movement through a legal channel."

The event was the last of the school year for the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund's Miami Law chapter. "I am happy that we had a packed classroom," said Morgan Nati, the chapter's President, adding that she expects to host many more events next year "that will generate awareness and interest in the area of animal law."