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Santa Rosa County lifting breed ban on animal shelter

Santa Rosa County lifting breed ban on animal shelter

Santa Rosa County is ending its discrimination against certain dog breeds, like pit bulls.

The county is pulling their ‘breed ban’ in October.

Brandi Winkleman said her dog Dodger was almost put down because of the county’s ban.

Shelter officials believed Dodger was part Rottweiler.

For years, breeds including pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chow and wolf-breed mixes would not be put up for adoption at the county shelter.

The county deemed the breeds to be too dangerous and a liability if the dogs hurt someone.

In most cases, the dogs were euthanized.

That will end on October 1. Workers at the shelter will now assess a dog based on its temperament, not its breed.

"One sentence could save so many lives and will save so many lives,” said Winkleman. “It's lifting a stigma on an animal that didn't deserve it in the first place."

Winkleman works for ‘A HOPE For Santa Rosa County’, a local nonprofit and animal advocacy group.

She’s been fighting for years to have shelters focus on a dog’s temperament, not it’s breed.

County officials decided to make the change after hearing these concerns.

"We will still not be adopting anything that has a history of biting, that's aggressive, showing dangerous tendencies,” said Brad Baker, the emergency management director for Santa Rosa County.

Rescuer Jennifer Hagedorn cried when she heard the news.

She said this ban will lower the county’s high euthanasia rates.

"You would just walk through the kennels and there's just be these wonderful, friendly dogs who didn't ask to be here,” said Hagedorn. “They hadn't done anything wrong and their chances of getting out were really slim.”

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