Officials in Miami-Dade County say a small but growing group of pit bull owners has found a loophole in the county's ban against the breed.
Miami-Dade Animal Services reports that about a half-dozen pit bulls have been registered as service animals for people with disabilities. Federal rules governing service animals trump the local ban, enacted in 1989 after an 8-year-old girl was mauled by a neighbor's pit bull.
Investigator supervisor Kathy Labrada says it's a challenge to verify that a pit bull is a service animal because the federal rules don't require any special certification and restrict what the county can ask about an individual's disabilities.
Pit bull owners can face a $500 fine and possible court hearings in Miami-Dade, which considers the breed to be dangerous.