DATE: January 9, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
Broward Commissioners invite the public to voice their opinions on a proposed ordinance that would place restrictions on the tethering of dogs in Broward County. The public hearing is set for Tuesday, February 12, at 2 p.m. in Room 422 of the Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., in Fort Lauderdale.
The proposed amended ordinance imposes conditions on the tethering of dogs, including the types of tethers and collars that can be used; the length, weight and height of tethers, types of running lines, pulleys or systems and other conditions under which dogs are restrained.
"What we want to do is to prohibit terrible, disingenuous, disgraceful people who tether their dogs in a manner that hurts the dog and is animal abuse. That's what we want to prohibit and unfortunately it is very prevalent,” said Commissioner Martin David Kiar. “When language is not strict, when there are loopholes all throughout it, whenever it's ambiguous, then it gives very bad people an ability to get out of it.”
Restrictions would ban the tethering, tying, chaining or restraining of dogs to a dog house, tree, fence or any stationary object. Dog owners would be allowed to use tethering systems that include a running line, pulley or trolley attached to a dog collar or body harness. Stipulations include that the tether be at least five times the length of the dog’s body, have a swivel at both ends, not weigh more than one-eighth of the dog’s weight and be free of tangles. All restrained dogs must also have convenient access to food, clean water, shade and protection from outside elements. The proposed ordinance also requires that the dog owner, caretaker or person responsible for the dog be in a nearby location where the dog can be heard and tended to in the event of any problems.
“I’m feeling this ordinance is a bit restrictive, I know that the intent of everybody is a safe environment for that animal and I believe we can get there. I just don’t believe we’re there yet,” said Commissioner Lois Wexler, who noted that proposed ordinance could technically prohibit dog owners from briefly leashing their dog to a chair when entering a store or coffee shop.
“I’m supportive of this ordinance as it relates to tying up a dog in a backyard, but I don’t want to restrict anybody’s opportunity to be in the community with their dog,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
During the February 12 public hearing, the Commission will also be asked to discuss a separate ordinance that amends the Broward County Code of Ordinances related to the care and adoption of animals consistent with changes suggested by the Animal Care Advisory Committee and Broward County staff. These revisions include changes to definitions and amendments instituting standards of care, clarifying sheltering, provisions and delineating appropriate use of the Animal Care Trust Fund account. Other proposed changes would eliminate obsolete programs, services or references.