Hillsborough Co. (FL): Dog Trainer Regulation on Agenda TOMORROW, 11/1/17

On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, the Hillsborough County Commission is scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would regulate, require registration and licensing, and establish extensive record keeping requirements for certain dog trainers and dog training businesses in the county.

On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, the Hillsborough County Commission is scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would regulate, require registration and licensing, and establish extensive record keeping requirements for certain dog trainers and dog training businesses in the county.

In addition to discussion of the ordinance at the November 1 meeting, a public hearing is scheduled for November 15, 2017.

Citizens who have questions or concerns about the proposed ordinance are encouraged to contact Hillsborough County Commissioners and to attend the meetings on November 1 and November 15.  Please scroll down for information about the 11/1/17 meeting and contact information. 

If enacted, the overreaching requirements of the ordinance could significantly raise costs incurred by trainers, which would be passed along to dog owners, thereby limiting Hillsborough County citizens’ access to dog training services. Further, persons who may profit from sales of books, training systems, and trainer “credentialing” schemes have promoted this ordinance, and also have sought to limit dog trainers to using only the training protocols they personally endorse.   

Provisions of the Draft Ordinance

At this time, a final version of the ordinance is not available. The draft ordinance would require dog trainers to register with, and dog training businesses to be licensed by, the Pet Resources Department. Submission of personal and business information, mandatory record keeping, and compliance with additional regulations would be required. Certain dog training businesses and trainers appear to be exempted.

Among numerous other provisions, those subject to regulation would be required to maintain extensive records regarding the background and qualifications of each trainer; perform criminal background checks on themselves and on all employees or contractors that perform dog training services; obtain commercial liability insurance of at least $100,000 per incident from an insurer licensed in the state; and obtain and maintain additional occupational/business licensing. 

Regulated persons and businesses would also be required to provide and maintain for each dog a “training plan”, keep such records on file for four years, and make them available to the department or consumer upon request. Each record would include, among other detailed information, a formal written training plan that lists the individuals who will be responsible for the training and care of the dog and the specific behaviors or obedience training needs to be addressed. The plan shall also include the specific methods and/or techniques, and equipment that could be used in dog training, a description of any potential physical corrections or dog training techniques that may be used in the correction process and any deprivation techniques that may be used, and additional care information. The draft ordinance does not define training “methods and/or techniques”, “physical corrections” or “deprivation techniques.”

Required application, registration, and licensing fees are not defined in the draft ordinance.

Review of violations and complaints and the assessment of fines and penalties would be conducted by a seven-person Dog Training Review Panel. Hearing officers would also be appointed to conduct hearings and to assess fines and penalties. Penalties would range from $100 to $500 per violation and may include suspension of registration and/or license.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Attend the Hillsborough County Commission meetings to learn more about the proposed ordinance and to express your concerns. Arrive early if you wish to sign up to speak on this issue. Speaking opportunities and time are limited. 

Date:  November 1, 2017

Time:  9:00 a.m.

Location:  The County Center, 2nd Floor, 601 E Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602

Immediately contact members of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners by phone or email with your questions and concerns. (Scroll down for contact information.)

Click on this link to access an online email form to send your message to county commissioners: https://webappsnet.hillsboroughcounty.org/Forms/BOCC/ContactCommissioners

Additional Contact Information:

(Mr.) Stacy White, Chairman
District 4 Commissioner
(813) 272-5740, (813) 272-7049 

Sandra L. Murman, Vice Chairman
District 1 Commissioner
(813) 272-5470, Fax (813) 272-7046 

Victor Crist
District 2 Commissioner
(813) 272-5452, Fax (813) 272-7047 

Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr.
District 3 Commissioner
(813) 272-5720, Fax (813) 272-7048

Ken Hagan
District 5 Commissioner (Countywide)
(813) 272-5725, Fax (813) 272-7052 

Pat Kemp
District 6 Commissioner (Countywide)
(813) 272-5730, (813) 272-7053 

Al Higginbotham
District 7 Commissioner (Countywide)
(813) 272-5735, (813) 272-7054 

For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.