UPDATE on Pinellas Co. (FL): Proposed Ordinance Regulates Sellers of One Litter as “Pet Dealers”

Changes to the agenda for the Pinellas County Commission Meeting are possible up until the start of the meeting. The commission meeting starts today, February 21, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.

Changes to the agenda for the Pinellas County Commission Meeting are possible up until the start of the meeting.  The commission meeting starts today, February 21, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.  A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. today.  Please call the chair’s office at 727-464-3365 for current information about the meeting, where to view the latest version of the ordinance, and how and when to submit a speaker card if you wish to speak at the public hearing.

The Pinellas County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider problematic changes to the county animal ordinance at its February 21, 2017 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, and unannounced inspections. 

A “Hobby Breeder” would be defined as “a person or entity that is a current member of a dog, cat or kennel club at the national, state, or local level that is, or is affiliated with, a nationally recognized organization and that houses or breeds dogs or cats in or on the property of a private residence”.  A hobby breeder would be required to purchase an annual permit, display the permit number in all advertising, submit a “point of sale” certificate for each sale, and would be limited to the sale of two litters or 20 animals per year.

Certain requirements and procedures for pet breeders, including care and sanitation requirements, would be established by the Department of Animal Services with no stakeholder or community oversight. Further, permits could be suspended or revoked at the discretion of the director. It is unclear if an appeal procedure is provided.

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. 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.

Click here for contact information for county commissioners.

Click here to view the agenda. Scroll down to Item 35.

Click here for information on the proposed ordinance.

Click here for information about participating in the public hearing, or call (727) 464-3365 for information.

Meeting Information:

Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners
February 21, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
Public Hearing on proposed animal ordinance at 6:00 p.m.
BCC Assembly Room
315 Court Street
Clearwater, FL 33756 

Board of County Commissioners Contact Information:

Janet C. Long, Chair
District 1
(727) 464-3365 Tel 
Email: JanetCLong@pinellascounty.org

Kenneth T. Welch, Vice Chair
District 7
(727) 464-3614 Tel 
Email: kwelch@pinellascounty.org

Pat Gerard, Commissioner 
District 2 - Countywide 
(727) 464-3360 Tel 
Email: pgerard@pinellascounty.org

Charlie Justice
District 3 - Countywide
(727) 464-3363 Tel
Email: cjustice@pinellascounty.org

Dave Eggers, Commissioner
District 4 - Countywide 
(727) 464-3276 Tel 
Email: deggers@pinellascounty.org

Karen Williams Seel, Commissioner 
District 5
(727) 464-3278 Tel 
Email: kseel@pinellascounty.org

John Morroni, Commissioner
District 6
(727) 464-3568 Tel 
Email: jmorroni@pinellascounty.org

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

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