Animal Ordinance Outline

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  • Dogs and Cats Running Loose

    The following definitions are related to this section of the ordinance to assist with understanding specific meanings:

     

    AT LARGE shall mean any dog or cat on the owner’s premises, not in the control of the owner or custodian; or any dog or cat off the premises of the owner or custodian and not under the physical control of the owner or custodian. 
     
    DIRECT CONTROL shall mean immediate and continuous control of an animal at all times by means such as a fence, animal carrier or cage, leash, tether, cord, or chain of sufficient strength to restrain the animal or the animal shall be within the unobstructed sight, attended, and supervised by a competent person, by use of hand or voice control, when on the property of the owner or custodian, or property which the owner or custodian of the animal has the right to use.

     

    FENCE shall mean an effective and reliable pet containment system constructed of chain link, wood, or similar material with the ability to confine the animal to the property. This shall also include containment systems wherein a constructed fence is not visible and the animal is wearing an electronic collar manufactured for the system, provided such system is in working order.  

     

    PHYSICAL CONTROL shall mean the immediate and continuous control of an animal at all times by means such as an animal carrier or cage, leash, cord, or chain of sufficient strength to restrain the animal when off the property of the owner or custodian or on public property. The leash, cord, or chain shall not exceed eight (8) feet in length.

     

    TETHER shall mean to restrain an animal by tying the animal to any object or structure, including without limitation, chain, rope, cord, leash, running line, or other binding material. Tethering shall not include using a leash to walk an animal.

     

    The following is directly from Animal Ordinance 12-10

     

    Sec. 2-4-11: Dogs and Cats at Large; Direct Control; Exceptions

     

    A. No dog or cat shall be “at large,” as defined by this Ordinance, upon any public property, street, or sidewalk, or on private property of another, without the consent of the property owner.

     

    B. Any dog or cat that is on private property without the consent of the property owner or resident may be captured in a humane trap or otherwise humanely confined.  Persons capturing “at large” dogs and cats will be responsible for the humane care of the animal until the captured animal is turned over to the Division, other humane organization, or licensed wildlife trapper. 

     

    C. No person shall tie, chain, or tether any dog or cat in such a manner that it is or could be injurious to its health, or that it has access to public property or the property of another, without the consent of that property owner.  


    D. The owner or custodian of a dog or cat must have direct control of such animal at all times. 

     

    E. Any cat that is outdoors while not under direct control must be sterilized in order to be exempt from the requirements of sec. 2-4-11(D) of this Ordinance.

     

    F. This Section shall not apply to police dogs, as defined in Section 843.19, Florida Statutes 2005, when such dog is engaged by a law enforcement agency in an official capacity, or to any dog which is being trained for the sport of hunting, or is actually engaged in hunting, during a legal hunting season within authorized areas and supervised by a competent person, or to any dog working livestock in areas of the County designated as Green Belt areas.

     

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  • Cruelty to Animals

    The following definitions are related to this section of the ordinance to assist with understanding specific meanings:

     

    CRUELTY shall mean any act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue when there is reasonable remedy or relief, unless excepted by law.

     

    HUMANE or HUMANELY shall mean the responsible practice of good animal husbandry, management, and care in regard to feeding, watering, ventilation, space and confinement, exercise, lighting, shelter with protection from the elements, handling, and treatment in a manner consistent with the physical and behavioral needs of the species.  The definition also includes the provision of euthanasia consistent with lawful practices.

     

    SHELTER shall mean provision of and access to a three-dimensional structure having a roof, walls, and a floor, which is dry, sanitary, clean, weatherproof, and made of durable material.  At a minimum, the structure must: (i) be sufficient in size to allow each sheltered animal to stand up, turn around, lie down, and stretch comfortably; (ii) be designed to protect the sheltered animal from the adverse effects of the elements and provide access to shade from direct sunlight and regress from exposure to inclement weather conditions; and (iii) be free of standing water, accumulated waste and debris, protect the sheltered animal from injury, and have adequate ventilation.  Structures with wire, grid, or slat floors which permit the animal’s feet to pass through the openings, sag under the animal’s weight or which otherwise do not protect the animal’s feet or toes from injury are prohibited except for birds where perches are provided.  

     

    SUSTENANCE shall mean access to and the provision of palatable nourishment appropriate for the type of animal which is to eat it, free from contamination and provided in a clean and sanitary manner.  Food shall be of sufficient nutritional value to maintain the animal in good health and shall be provided at suitable intervals for the species, age and condition of the animal, but not less than once daily, except as otherwise prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal to the species.

     

    TORMENT shall mean every act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue when there is reasonable remedy or relief; except when done in the interest of medical science pursuant to and in compliance with the applicable law.

     

    UNJUSTIFIABLE PAIN OR SUFFERING shall mean the character of an act which can not reasonably be excused, defended, or vindicated (such as in connection with the practice of veterinary medicine, law enforcement activities, to end needless suffering, or in defense of persons or other animals).

     

    WATER shall mean provision of and access to clean, fresh, and potable water of a drinkable temperature which is free from contamination and provided in a suitable manner, in sufficient volume, and at suitable intervals to maintain normal hydration for the age, species, condition, size and types of each animal, except as otherwise prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation.  An animal confined outdoors shall have a continuous supply of clean, fresh, and potable water, unless the animal is under the direct supervision of a responsible person who shall ensure sufficient water is provided to the animal in order to maintain normal hydration for the species of the animal.

     

    The following is directly from Animal Ordinance 12-10

     

    Sec. 2-4-9:  Cruelty to Animals

     

    A. Pursuant to Section 828.12, Florida Statutes (2005), cruelty to animals is a criminal offense.  The Division shall investigate reported incidents involving cruelty to animals or support investigations by other law enforcement agencies when so requested and shall refer cases where probable cause exists to the State Attorney for potential criminal prosecution.

     

    B. In addition to those set forth in the statute, the following additional acts or omissions shall constitute cruelty to animals under this Ordinance:  

     

    1. Unnecessarily overloading, overdriving, tormenting, depriving of necessary sustenance, shelter, or medical care; or unnecessarily mutilating; or killing any animal or causing the same to be done; or carrying in or upon any vehicle or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner.

     

    2. Intentionally committing an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done.

     

    3. Poisoning a dog, cat, ferret, or any other animal.
     

    C. Pursuant to Section 828.13, Florida Statutes (2005), confining an animal without sufficient food, water, or exercise, or abandonment of an animal is a criminal offense.  The Division shall investigate reported incidents involving such action, or support investigations by other law enforcement agencies when so requested, and shall refer cases where probable cause exists to the State Attorney for potential criminal prosecution.

     

    D. The following acts or omissions shall constitute improper confinement or abandonment: 

     

    1. Impounding or confining an animal without a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water.

     

    2.  Keeping an animal in any enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air.

     

    3. Abandoning to die any animal that is maimed, sick, infirm, or diseased.

     

    4. Abandoning an animal to suffer injury, malnutrition, or illness without veterinary care.

     

    E. A veterinarian rendering services is exempt from the provisions of this section.

     

    F. Pursuant to Section 828.122, Florida Statutes (2005), fighting or baiting animals is a criminal offense.  The Division shall report incidents involving such action to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and support investigations when so requested, and shall refer cases where probable cause exists to the State Attorney for potential criminal prosecution.

     

    G. The following acts or omissions shall constitute improper fighting or baiting under this Ordinance:

     

    1. Baiting or using any animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting any other animal.

     

    2.  Knowingly owning, managing, or operating any facility kept or used for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal.

     

    3. Promoting, staging, advertising, or charging any admission fee to a fight or baiting between two or more animals.

     

    H. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prohibit, impede, or otherwise interfere with recognized animal husbandry and training techniques or practices not otherwise specifically prohibited by law. 

      

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  • Rabies Vaccination, License Certificate and Tag Required

    The following definitions are related to this section of the ordinance to assist with understanding specific meanings:

     

    LICENSE CERTIFICATE shall mean a document evidencing registration and vaccination for rabies of a dog, cat, or ferret residing in the County which contains at a minimum the information required by Section 828.30, Florida Statutes (2005).

     

    TAG shall mean a current County issued or approved animal license tag.

     

    The following is directly from Animal Ordinance 12-10

     

    Sec. 2-4-4: Dog, Cat, and Ferret Rabies Vaccination Requirement; Medical Exemption

     

    A. Rabies Vaccination Required

     

    1. It is a violation of this Ordinance for the owner or custodian of a dog, cat, or ferret to fail to have each dog, cat, or ferret vaccinated with an anti-rabies vaccine, as required by this Section.

     

    2. Any person who owns a dog, cat, or ferret, four (4) months of age or older, shall have such dog, cat, or ferret vaccinated with an anti-rabies vaccine in accordance with Section 828.30, Florida Statutes (2005), as may be amended.  Dogs and cats shall be vaccinated annually for rabies; however, dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated by a veterinarian using a USDA approved triennial vaccine are considered currently vaccinated for the entire three (3) year period and will not be required to have an annual re-vaccination for the purpose of obtaining a license tag except that dogs and cats vaccinated at less than one year of age must be re-vaccinated with a booster one year after the initial vaccination.

     

    3. Proof of rabies vaccination in a form containing the information required by the registration certificate shall be provided to the owner and the Division by the vaccinating veterinarian.  Upon request, such certificate shall be made available to any officer or representative of any enforcement agency.  In the event the vaccinating veterinarian does not practice in Florida, other verifiable evidence of a current rabies vaccination as deemed acceptable by the Division may be substituted.


       
    B.  Medical Exemption

     

    1. A medical exemption from any vaccination requirement of the Ordinance may be granted by the Division if the following requirements are satisfied: 

     

    (a) A veterinarian examines the dog or cat and certifies in writing that at the time of such examination, in his or her professional opinion, administering the vaccination would endanger the health or life of the animal.  The veterinarian’s certification must include the basis for his or her opinion (e.g.: age, infirmity, disability, illness, or other injurious condition), the anticipated duration of this condition, and the dates of administration for the last occurring series of vaccinations or a statement that this information was not available; and

     

    (b) The dog or cat is registered with the Division within 30 days of the exam by submitting the veterinarian’s certification, completing any other required forms, and paying the applicable fee; and

     

    (c)  The dog or cat is securely and humanely confined.

     

    2. In no event shall any exemption granted pursuant to this section be in effect for more than one (1) year without re-certification by a veterinarian.  As soon as the animal’s condition permits, it must be vaccinated and otherwise come into full compliance with the Ordinance.

     

    3. The Division must be contacted upon expiration or termination of the exemption and/or the animal’s condition and within fourteen (14) days provided proof of compliance with all vaccination requirements.

     

    Sec. 2-4-5: Dog, Cat, and Ferret License Certificates and Tags; Requirements; Exemptions; Changes in Ownership

     

    A. Requirements

     

    1.  Except as provided for in Sec. 2-4-5(B) of this Ordinance, all dogs, cats, and ferrets that are four (4) months of age or older must be licensed with the Division.  The length of time that such license certificate will remain valid may be based on the expiration of the animal’s rabies vaccination, but in no instance shall it be greater than one (1) year.

     

    2. Except as provided for in Sec. 2-4-5(B) of this Ordinance, all dogs and cats in the County that are at least four (4) months of age or older must have been issued a license tag.  The length of time that such tag will remain valid may be based on the expiration of the animal's rabies vaccination, but in no instance shall it be greater than one (1) year.

     

    3. The owner of a newly acquired dog, cat, or ferret that is at least four (4) months of age or older, shall have three (3) business days to license the animal and obtain a tag for the dog or cat, if no proof is provided that the animal has a current license certificate or tag.  This provision does not excuse the previous owner from any applicable license or tag requirements.  If the animal has a current license certificate and current license tag, both would be transferable to the new owner as required in Sec. 2-4-5(C). 

     

    4. The County shall provide all license certificates and license tags.  Only such license certificates and license tags provided or approved by the County shall satisfy the requirements of this Ordinance.  The license tag shall consist of a serially numbered piece of metal or plastic bearing the year for which it was issued. 

     

    B. Exemptions to License and Tag Requirements

     

    1. Visiting dogs, cats, or ferrets: The license and tag requirements of this Ordinance shall not apply to any animal that will only remain in the County for a period of 90 days or less and for which the Division is provided proof of domicile outside of the County; a current, valid certificate of rabies vaccination; and any applicable registration, required license, or permit required by the laws of the jurisdiction of domicile. 


       
    2. The license tag requirement shall be waived for Division-approved cat caretaker organizations.

     

    C. Changes in Owner Information

     

    The person named as the owner and the address, as it appears on the registration certificate, shall be prima facie evidence of ownership and domicile of the animal.  The Division must be notified within ten (10) business days of any change in ownership or any other change in the information contained in the license certificate including the address or telephone.

     

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  • Nuisance Dogs and Cats

    The following is directly from Animal Ordinance 12-10

     

    Sec. 2-4-12: Nuisance Dogs and Cats

     

    A. Any feces deposited by a dog or cat on public property, public walks, recreation areas, or the private property of others must be immediately removed by the person who has custody or control of the animal unless otherwise authorized by the property owner.

     

    B. No dog or cat shall materially disturb the peace and quiet or interfere with the enjoyment of life or property by persistent or repetitive barking, yelping, whining, howling, meowing, squealing, screaming, or causing other objectionable noise for a persistent period of time exceeding ten (10) minutes or for a repetitive period of time which cumulatively exceeds ten (10) minutes within a one hundred twenty (120) minute period of time. 

     

    1. The following illustrations are offered by way of example and not limitation:

     

    (a) A dog or cat that causes any objectionable noise exceeding ten (10) minutes at any one time such as the dog that barks and barks because it does not want to be outdoors or it sees the dog or cat next door.  This persistent barking may be a violation of this Ordinance. 

     

    (b) A dog or cat that causes any objectionable noise cumulatively exceeding ten (10) minutes within a one hundred twenty (120) minute period of time such as the dog that barks for five (5) minutes at someone walking nearby, four (4) minutes at someone riding their bicycle, three (3) minutes at the mailman delivering mail, and two (2) minutes at the birds flying by, all within a two (2) hour time period.  This repetitive barking may be a violation of this Ordinance.

     

    2. Procedures are hereby set forth for the proper enforcement of this part:

     

    (a) The Division must receive a formal complaint, including the name and address of the complainant in order that verification can be made by the responding Animal Services Officer.

     

    (b) The responding Animal Services Officer, upon his or her initial response to the location of a reported violation must first issue, or post in a conspicuous place, a courtesy notice of complaint that such a violation of this Section has been reported.  By issuance or posting of the notice, it will ensure the owner or custodian of the dog or cat is aware of the reported violation and has 72 hours from the time of issuance or posting to correct the violation).

     

    (c) If after 72 hours a subsequent complaint is received, a civil citation may be issued as authorized by this Ordinance.  Prior to a citation being issued, the Division must be in receipt of affidavits alleging a violation of this Section from the owners or occupants of no less than two different lots or nearby residences or, if the investigating officer has reason to believe a violation exists, that officer’s assessment may replace one of the required affidavits.  Each affidavit must be made under oath before an individual authorized by law to take acknowledgements, and must set forth the nature and date of the violation, the owner or custodian of the dog or cat, the address of the violation, and a description of the dog or cat.

     

    (d) If the reported violation is repetitive, or pre-existing complaints are on file regarding a particular address, and it is evident the same animal owner resides at the reported address, the 72-hour time period may be waived.  The animal owner will not receive another notice, and the investigative process may commence.

     

    C. The owner shall not be found in violation of Subsection B. of this Section, if at the time of the objectionable noise described herein, a person commits a crime, tort or trespass upon premises occupied by the owner of the dog or cat or was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or cat.  

     

    D. No owner of an animal boarding facility shall be subject to the provision of this section as it relates to dogs or cats which bark, yelp, whine, howl, meow, squeal, scream, or cause other objectionable noise.
     

     

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  • Dangerous Dogs

    The following definitions are related to this section of the ordinance to assist with understanding specific meanings:

     

    BITE shall mean any cut, puncture, or breakage of the skin or tissue made with the teeth or fangs of any animal.

     

    DANGEROUS DOG shall be defined in accordance with Section 767.11, Florida Statutes (2005).    

     

    SEVERE INJURY shall mean any physical injury that results in broken bones, multiple punctures, or disfiguring lacerations requiring sutures or reconstructive surgery, regardless of the permanency of any disfigurement. 

     

    PROPER ENCLOSURE shall mean securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of other dogs, cats, or young children and designed to prevent the dog or cat from escaping over, under, or through the structure and shall also provide protection from the elements in a humane manner.

     

    The following is directly from Animal Ordinance 12-10

     

    Sec. 2-4-10: Vicious Animals and Dangerous Dogs

     

    A. Vicious Animals

     

    1. The owner or custodian of a dog or cat will be in violation of this Ordinance if their dog or cat, when unprovoked, bites, attacks, endangers, or inflicts injury on a human, domestic animal, or livestock; or causes damage to property, while on public or private property; or chases or approaches an individual upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.

     

    2. The owner shall not be found in violation of this Section for any injury to a person who, at the time such injury was sustained, was committing a willful trespass or other tort or crime upon premises occupied by the owner of the dog or cat or was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or cat.

     

    3. Violations of this Section may constitute proof of “prior knowledge of a dog’s dangerous propensities” under Section 767.13(2), Florida Statutes (2005).

     

    B. Dangerous Dogs

     

    The provisions of Chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2005), pertaining to dangerous dogs are adopted in their entirety as a part of this Ordinance.  All procedures, regulations, requirements, and restrictions pertaining to dangerous dogs are applicable under this Ordinance, and a violation of the statute shall constitute a violation of this Ordinance.  Each day the owner of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the requirements of this Section or the requirements of Section 767.12, Florida Statutes (2005), shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.

     

    1. Administrative procedures shall be approved by the County Administrator, or his or her designee, regarding dangerous dog investigations, hearings, and appeals.  The procedures may be amended or modified, from time to time, by the County Administrator or his or her designee. 

     

    2. The Division will only issue certificates of registration and their renewals to individuals, who are at least eighteen (18) years of age, pay the appropriate fee, and present sufficient evidence of the requirements provided for in Section 767.12, Florida Statutes (2005). In addition to those requirements, the dog’s owner must:

     

    (a) Sterilize the dog within 30 calendar days of being declared dangerous; and 

     

    (b) Provide the division proof of a current health certificate for the dog issued by a veterinarian; and

     

    (c) Have the dog microchipped and registered to the owner at his or her current address; and

     

    (d) Post approved signage obtained from the Division at intervals determined by the Division and at all entrances to the property; and

     

    (e) Provide a secure enclosure to properly confine the dog, as determined by the Division, which may be inside the owner’s dwelling or a kennel which measures a minimum of four (4) feet by eight (8) feet, which does not share common fencing with the perimeter of the premises, and which consists of a top
    and sides made from at least eleven (11) gauge chain link wire secured to a concrete floor by embedding the wire in the concrete or by other means as pre-approved by the Division; and

     

    (f) Provide access to property and the dog for no less than two inspections annually by the Division to verify compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance and Chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2005).

     

    3. The Division may provide notification to appropriate neighbors and the public advising them of the presence of a declared dangerous dog.  Photographs of the dog may be used in providing the public with internet access to dangerous dog information.

     

    4. The Division may confiscate any dog classified as dangerous for euthanasia as a result of the owner’s failure to comply with any or all requirements of Chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2005), or any requirement of this Section.  Should the Division confiscate any dog under this Section, notice of sufficient cause to confiscate the animal shall be provided in writing to the owner in accordance with Section 767.12, Florida Statutes (2005). 

     

    5. The dog shall be held for ten (10) business days after the owner is provided this written notice and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.  The owner may request a hearing during this ten (10) business day period.  If a hearing is held, the dog shall not be euthanized until all administrative proceedings have been concluded.

     

    C. Previously Declared Dangerous Dog; Subsequent Attack

     

    1. If a dog previously declared dangerous attacks or bites a human being or a domestic animal without provocation, in accordance with section 767.13, Florida Statutes (2005), the owner is guilty of a criminal offense as set forth in this Ordinance.

     

    2. The owner shall be responsible for any boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the dog during any hearing or appeal procedure, including any and all investigative fees accrued by the Division. 

     

    3. If the owner files a timely written request for a hearing, the Division may not destroy the dog while the appeal is pending.  The only exception would be to prevent unnecessary suffering by the animal as determined by two veterinarians.
     

     

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