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At its meeting on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, the Hillsborough County Animal Advisory Committee is scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would regulate, set requirements for, and establish fees for dog training businesses and dog trainers in the county. 

Also on the agenda is a discussion of a broad definition of the pejorative term, “puppy and kitten mill.”

Citizens who have questions or concerns about these proposals are encouraged to attend the meeting and to contact Hillsborough County Commissioners. Please scroll down for contact information.

Dog Trainer Ordinance:

A copy of a draft ordinance, which was obtained by citizens of the county, would require pet dog training businesses to obtain a permit and comply with extensive regulations. Vague language in the ordinance appears to apply the permitting requirement only to businesses and trainers that train dogs out of sight of the owners; however, the phrase “including, but not limited to” could serve to negate this provision.  

The ordinance would also require each person who provides dog training services for compensation, either individually or on behalf of a dog training business, to register with the county.

Certain dog training businesses and trainers appear to be exempted. Exempted entities include veterinary clinics; trainers of service animal (excluding therapy and emotional support animals), detection dogs, military, law enforcement and guard dogs; “specialized competition Dog Training, including, but not limited to: confirmation (sic), agility, and sporting dog training”; dog training by 501(c)3 corporations whose primary funds do not come from dog training; and animal shelters. Clubs and non-profit organizations that are incorporated as 501(c)7 or other IRS designations would not be exempted.

Fees and fines would be set by county resolution. Among other requirements, dog training businesses would be required to obtain commercial liability insurance of at least $100,000 per incident from an insurer licensed in the state; maintain extensive records regarding the background and qualifications of each trainer and make those records available to the public upon request; and perform annual criminal background checks on all employees or contractors that perform dog training services. 

Dog trainers would be required to have, and to keep on file for three years, extensive records for each dog. Each dog’s file would include, among numerous other records, a formal written training plan which contains information specified by the local animal control agency and copies of documentation of the trainer’s credentials.  Any potential physical corrections and deprivation techniques would be required to be documented; however, “physical corrections” and “deprivation techniques” are not defined. 

A dog trainer would be required to report within two hours any severe injury or death of a dog during or immediately following dog training. “Immediately following” is not defined, nor is it clear how a dog trainer would know that a dog suffered injury or death following training when the dog was no longer under the care or observation of the trainer. 

Review of violations and complaints would be conducted by a five-person Pet Dog Training Review Panel.

“Puppy/Kitten Mill” Definition:

A draft definition obtained by residents would seek to define a “puppy or kitten mill” as a facility where dogs and cats are bred for the purpose of sale, subject to provisions that include the number of dogs, cats, kittens, or puppies on the facility; how many dogs are kept in a single area at one time; and other factors unrelated to the care and conditions provided for the animals.


Attend the meeting of the Hillsborough County Animal Advisory Committee to learn more about these proposals and to express any concerns.

Date:  June 28, 2017

Time:  6:30 pm

Location:  Conference Rooms A and B, 26th Floor of County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602

Contact members of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners with questions and to express any concerns.

Click on this link to access an online email form:

Stacy White, Chairman

District 4 Commissioner

813 -272-5740, (813) 272-7049

Sandra L. Murman, Vice Chairman

District 1 Commissioner

(813) 272-5470, (813) 272-7046

Victor Crist

District 2 Commissioner

(813) 272-5452, (813) 272-7047

Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr.

District 3 Commissioner

(813) 272-5720 | (813) 272-7048

Ken Hagan

District 5 Commissioner (Countywide)

(813) 272-5725, (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