DATE: June 12, 2013
Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
Broward Commissioners have given the go ahead for stronger regulations governing aggressive dogs. Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief developed the series of proposals after meeting with several local community leaders, animal activists and animal support groups seeking solutions on aggressive dogs throughout the County. The regulations aim to provide resources, education, training programs and protocols to reduce aggressive, roaming and mistreated dog incidents throughout Broward County.
The Board agreed to fund three additional animal care specialists in the 2014 budget to provide assistance in areas that generate the highest number of dog intakes.
In addition, the County Attorney will draft regulations requiring the use of revenue coming from animal registration tags and vaccinations to be used to fund low cost sterilization programs. It is estimated that an increase of 25,000 pet registrations per year would yield a revenue flow of $500,000, assuming that tags are sold at $20 a piece.
"We have an estimated 800,000 dogs in Broward County which are not registered and vaccinated. Revenue generated from enforcing registration and vaccination will pay for a number of animal care programs and enforcement without the need for increasing taxes," said Vice Mayor Sharief. "These proposals may not cover everything, but they are a start."
Commissioners also asked the County Attorney to draft an amended ordinance that will establish regulations for commercial and hobby breeders requiring a breeder's license, limitation of the numbers of litters per breeder and require vaccinations, micro-chipping and maintenance of veterinarian records.
The new rules will also require maximum penalties when prosecuting animal cruelty cases and developing programs aimed at reducing the number of animal abuse cases.
Commissioners also agreed to ask the Broward County Sheriff to consider providing training for deputies who are often called to assist when a dog has bitten someone and other incidences where animal control is required.
The new ordinances, once drafted, will be reviewed by the Commission and set for a public hearing at a future date prior to approval.
In a separate item, Commissioners approved an ordinance that prohibits teaching an animal to fight and other activities related to the fighting of animals. Violation of the dog fighting prohibition comes with a $500 fine per offense.
Fines also increased to $300 for pet owners who fail to register and provide rabies vaccinations for their pet. Pet owners will be given a 30-day warning for the first offense, allowing them to comply with the requirements prior to being fined.
Broward county also provides a number of low cost vaccinations and spay/neuter programs that can be found at broward.org/animal.