Two ordinances on the agenda of the Collier County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners meeting for February 25, 2020, seek to establish overreaching and onerous regulations for both hobby breeders and commercial breeders. Concerned dog owners are urged to immediately contact County Commissioners and attend the meeting on Tuesday.
Under current law, all breeders, including those who produce a single litter or provide a single stud service, are required to be regulated. Hobby breeders are limited to two litters and stud services per year.
Provisions of concern in the proposed ordinance include, but are not limited to:
- Defining “Commercial breeder” as any person or business required to hold a business tax receipt who engages in the sale and/or intentional or unintentional breeding of three or more litters of dogs or cats, per a one-year period or offers one or more domestic cat or dogs for breeding or stud purposes, producing three or more litters per year, excepting certain service dog breeders. Commercial breeders are subject to agricultural zoning requirements.
Per this definition, commercial breeders must operate in a nonresidential setting. The proposed ordinance would require commercial breeders to comply with these and other requirements:
Dogs maintained in a nonresidential setting for a period longer than three months shall be afforded protective measures. The responsible party shall notify animal services regarding all dogs maintained in a nonresidential setting for longer than three months and shall comply with the following requirements:
- A veterinarian will examine the animal once every six months. Dogs not maintained on a heartworm preventative program shall be given an occult heartworm test and started on preventative or treated for same.
- A professional behaviorist or trainer will evaluate the animal once every three months and recommend a behavioral enrichment program.
- The dog will receive a minimum of fifty minutes of play, interaction, grooming and/or training each week or the care stipulated by the recommended behavioral enrichment program, whichever is more stringent. Dogs with medical conditions prohibiting play or training sessions shall be excluded from this requirement upon written certification of the medical condition by a licensed veterinarian.
- Records shall be kept evidencing compliance with the above.
- For breeders located in premises used primarily as a residence, 24-hours minimum advanced notice of quarterly routine inspections, as provided in current law, would be deleted.
- The proposed ordinances would require all animal-related businesses, including all breeders and trainers, to comply with a provision that states: wherever animal are housed or cared for, floors, moldings, walls, shelves and work areas shall be of a nonporous material impervious to fecal matter and urine that can easily be swept, mopped and disinfected daily. Carpeting as a flooring or wall covering shall not be used wherever animals are housed or maintained. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Division may in writing approve the use of alternative materials when the animal establishment provides a written plan for keeping all surfaces in the animal enclosure clean and properly disinfected and demonstrates compliance with such plan.
Other provisions include:
- Requiring that animal-related businesses and organizations keep extensive records on each individual animal bred, born, boarded, surrendered, housed and/or being trained.
- Dictating that if only artificial lighting is provided in an animal area, it must be full-spectrum illumination.
- Establishing extensive regulations for pet shops and dealers.
Similar to current law, shelters and rescue groups would be exempted from many of the standards of care and proof of care that are required for breeders and animal-related businesses.
Collier County dog owners, breeders, trainers, and other animal-related businesses are urged to review the proposed ordinances. Concerned residents should contact Commissioners to politely express their concerns and attend the Board of County Commissioners meeting at 9:00am on February 25, 2020, Collier County Government Center, 3299 Tamiami Trail East, 3rd Floor, Naples, FL 34112.
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For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-816-3720.