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Slater Buehrle is a dog without a country.

The 21/2-year-old American Staffordshire terrier is one of four dogs owned by major league pitcher Mark Buehrle, who was included in this week's blockbuster trade between Florida and Toronto.


Buehrle was traded by the Marlins to the Blue Jays and Slater is not welcome in Ontario because his breed falls into the category of pit bulls, which have been banned by province lawmakers.

I know, I know.

And we think the Utah Legislature has too much time on its hands.

In any event, the Florida-Toronto trade leaves Slater's future up in the air, although everyone who knows Buehrle says the dog still has a future.

Others in a similar situation might be left behind.

Or worse.

Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, have indicated they won't abandon their pet and will figure out a solution.

They have the financial means to do so — he signed a four-year, $58 million contract extension last winter — and they are committed to Slater.

The Buehrles' devotion to their dog and others like him, in fact, makes this a Utah-connected story.

For years, they have been supporters and vocal advocates for the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab.

Best Friends bills itself as the "nation's largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals."

After NFL quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to federal felony charges in 2007 for his involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring, Best Friends took in 22 pit bulls that had survived.

Vick, who spent 21 months in prison, is back in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Buehrle made headlines for his reaction to the Vick case, telling, "Even if you are not a dog lover, how can you sit there and make two dogs fight and know one is going to die? How could you do that if you are somewhat sane?"

The irony of the Buehrles' current situation is they have already been through it — to a slightly lesser degree.

After he signed his hefty contract with the Marlins, the family discovered Miami-Dade County had a law against owning pit bulls.

The solution in Florida?

The Buehrles bought a home in Broward County, much further from the ballpark but a place where Slater could still live with the family.

This time, such a relatively simply option is not available.

Fortunately, the commitment Mark Buehrle and his wife have shown to their dogs in the past will prevail again.

Why not?

After all, Sporting News columnist David Whitley reports Slater is so gentle he has been trained as a therapy dog for sick children and the elderly.

He's clearly being shunned because of what he is, not who he is.

And that's a doggone shame.

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