Lawsuit aims to overturn pit bull ban in Prince George's County

For years, pit bulls have been banned in Prince George's County. Now, a federal lawsuit is seeking to overturn that ban.

Richard Rosenthal calls himself "The Dog Lawyer," and specializes in legal cases involving animals. Rosenthal is now representing a Prince George's County family which is seeking to overturn Prince George's County's decades-old pit bull ban, claiming their constitutional due process rights were violated when their dogs were seized.

The 57-page suit by Denise, Sophia and Stephany Venero states their two dogs are not pit bulls but were determined to be by Prince George's County Animal Services after the dogs got out of a fenced-in yard and into a fight with another dog on July 4.

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The dogs were seized and later returned. But, the lawsuit claims Prince George's County's pit bull ban is subjective and unscientific in how it identifies if a dog is a pit bull.

It also claims the ban violates the 14th Amendment by taking people's dogs without a preliminary hearing.

"It has nothing to do with conduct, it has to do with how they look and, you know, deciding that we’re going to enforce laws and ban dogs because we don’t like the way they look just smacks a little bit of fascism," says Rosenthal.

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FOX 5 spoke with a group called PB Proud, owners of pit bulls and other breeds of dogs who say they're hopeful this federal challenge will end the ban which has been in place since 1997.

A spokesperson for Prince George's County tells FOX 5 they have no comment because this matter involves pending litigation.

A hearing on the matter scheduled for Tuesday was postponed until next month.