Animal Services Ordinance Tightened
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners adopted revisions to the Pinellas County Animal Services ordinance, pending approval by the state. Four changes were adopted: (1) limit tethering of dogs, (2) change the definition of a dangerous animal, (3) reduce the holding time for impounded animals, and (4) require a written statement about an incident involving a dangerous animal be submitted within 30 days.
The new tethering provision is intended to prevent dogs being left alone and tied in a yard for long periods of time. Tethering of puppies or dogs that are sick or injured is prohibited. Tying a dog to a stationery object, such as a tree or fence, is prohibited unless it is for a reasonable time, such as while the owner completes a temporary task. However, the dog must have access to water, adequate shelter and dry ground. The ordinance will be enforced primarily with warnings. However, pending investigation, citations and fines of up to $500 could be levied against owners who violate the ordinance.
The ordinance has been tightened to allow an animal to be defined as dangerous after one incident of violent attack on another domestic animal deemed particularly egregious and unprovoked, resulting in the severe injury or death of the attacked animal. Currently, an animal is allowed two strikes (two animal attacks). Also, the revised ordinance requires that a written statement be submitted to Animal Services within 30 days after an incident to speed up investigations. Previously, there was no time limit.
The holding times for stray animals turned in to Animal Services before being screened for adoption have been reduced from ten days to seven days for animals with identification, and from five days to four days for animals without identification. The purpose is to quickly reunite lost animals with their owners or find new owners for unclaimed animals. The stress level and risk of disease increases with each day that an animal spends at a shelter.
Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. The fee for animal adoptions has been reduced from the regular $35 fee to $20. Pet owners are encouraged to protect pets from loss with a county license tag ($20) and microchip implant ($15). For information, visit Animal Services or call (727) 582-2600.
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