the proposed ordinance would define a person who sells one litter of cats or dogs per year as “pet dealer” and require compliance with kennel and breeder permitting requirements, zoning, payment of significant fees, and inspections.
The Pinellas County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a public hearing and consider changes to the county animal ordinance at its October 11 meeting.
Among other provisions of concern, the proposed ordinance would define a person who sells one litter of cats or dogs per year as “pet dealer” and require compliance with kennel and breeder permitting requirements, zoning, payment of significant fees, and inspections.
Under this proposed ordinance, standards for animal care and sanitation for “pet dealers” and “kennels” would be established by the Department of Animal Services with no legislative or community oversight. Further, permits could be suspended or revoked at the discretion of the director.
The proposed ordinance provides that inspections of “pet dealers” shall be conducted without notice, and the inspector shall, at a minimum, be given access to and the opportunity to inspect and photograph the animals, premises and records. As written, this would include the private residence of a dog owner designated as a “pet dealer”.
The proposed ordinance also strikes a section of existing law that requires that animals confined outdoors with direct supervision at events such as a dog show or field trial shall be provided sufficient water to maintain normal hydration. Instead, it would make it both a negligence and cruelty violation if a dog in these circumstances were not provided continuous access to water. This change would negatively and unreasonably impact owners and handlers of supervised dogs that are, for short time periods, without continuous access to water while crated briefly at ringside or while given access to an exercise pen during an event.
The proposed ordinance would reduce oversight of “rescue groups” by striking a section of existing law which requires that records of animals impounded or picked up by such groups must be made available for inspection by the Department of Animal Services at the impounding agency, at any time, upon the department's request. Only monthly reporting would be required. This is potentially problematic for owners of lost pets that are found or impounded by such groups.
Pet owners are urged to contact their county commissioners in advance of the meeting and also to attend the public hearing to express their concerns. Persons wishing to speak should arrive early and complete a speaker card. Each speaker may speak up to three minutes. Comments may also be submitted by calling (727) 464-3458.
Click here for contact information for county commissioners.
Click here to view the proposed ordinance.
Click here for information about participating in the public hearing, or call (727) 464-3363 for information.
Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners
October 11, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
BCC Assembly Room
315 Court Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
Board of County Commissioners Contact Information:
Charlie Justice, Chairman
District 3 - Countywide
Janet C. Long, Vice Chairman
District 1 - Countywide
Pat Gerard, Commissioner
District 2 - Countywide
Dave Eggers, Commissioner
District 4 - Countywide
Karen Williams Seel, Commissioner
John Morroni, Commissioner
Kenneth T. Welch, Commissioner
For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.