One of baseball's biggest free agent signings this off-season won't be able to live in his new team's town because his pet has been outlawed there for 23 years.
We aren't talking about chimpanzees or hedgehogs, either.
While Mark Buehrle is taking his pitching talents to the Marlins, his canine is illegal as a pet in Miami-Dade County where the National League club plays its home games. Slater Buehrle, an 18-month old, happens to be an American Staffordshire Terrior, the type of pit bull that's been banned there since 1989.
American Staffordshires, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers were all determined to be extremely dangerous and were made illegal to own as pets, along with mixes that display certain of the breeds' characteristics, the Miami Herald reports.
Buehrle thinks the laws are silly.
"It's kind of ridiculous that because of the way a dog looks, people will ban it," he told the Herald. "Every kind of dog has good and bad, and that depends on the handlers. If you leave a dog outside all the time, it'll be crazy. Slater would never do anything harmful."
Don't feel too bad for Buehrle; his four-year, $58 million contract will more than provide enough funds to find a Slater a palace outside Miami-Dade.
The left-handed pitcher and his wife, Jamie, are outspoken animal rights advocates. Buehrle made headlines on sports blogs in 2010 when he went on record hoping Eagles quarterback Michael Vick would be injured during a game because of his dogfighting conviction.
Jamie Buehrle took Slater from a shelter with plan of putting him up for adoption, except the family fell in love with the dog and decided to keep him.
"It doesn't occur to him that someone won't like him," she told the Herald.
How strongly does Mark Buehrle feel about man's best friend?
If it came down to not finding a house where all his canines could live, he might not have signed with the Marlins, he told the Herald. "But I knew we'd eventually find a place."
Pitching won't be an issue for the left-hander, who brings a 161-119 record and lifetime 3.83 ERA in 12 seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Buehrle, a four-time All-Star, is best known for helping the South Siders win the 2005 World Series and pitching a perfect game in 2009.
Good news could be right around the corner for the newest Marlins star and other pit bull owners in South Florida. A lawyer has proposed a bill that would reverse Miami-Dade's ban on pit bull ownership.
"It really is breed discrimination," state Rep. Carlos Trujillo told the Herald of the current dog law. "And it ends up with people lying, or people just killing these dogs."
Buehrle, his wife, three other Vizslas -- Diesel, Drake and Duke -- along with human kids Braden, 4, and Brooklyn, 2, will be moving into a Broward County community that doesn't have any dog ownership restrictions.
|Buehrle and his wife have spoken to the Marlins about starting similar pet friendly programs similar to the one they supported with the White Sox.|
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