An overreaching animal ordinance that would criminalize many responsible dog owners in Hollywood, Florida, is on the agenda for Wednesday, February 16, 2022.
Residents are urged to immediately contact their city commissioners and ask them to VOTE NO on the proposed animal ordinance. Respectfully ask them to work with knowledgeable animal owners to develop measures to protect animals and that do not criminalize caring, responsible owners and caretakers. Scroll down for contact information.
Residents are also encouraged to attend the city commission meeting on February 16 to voice their concerns (see meeting details, below).
Concerns with the proposed ordinance include:
Creates hardships for good animal owners while not effectively protecting animals. Arbitrary, vague, and overreaching provisions in the proposed ordinance (as outlined below) would create hardships for responsible owners, and could also negatively affect animal rescues, foster care providers, boarding facilities, and other individuals and businesses that provide care to animals.
Establishes arbitrary minimum enclosure sizes. The proposed ordinance would outlaw placing a dog for any length of time, however brief, in an enclosure that is less than a specified size. Dogs up to 20 pounds must be enclosed in an outdoor “fenced yard or other type of enclosure” of no less than 100 square feet of “open space.” For dogs larger than 20 pounds, enclosing the dog outdoors in a space of less than 200 square feet would be an offense. Forty additional square feet of space would be required for each additional dog in the same enclosed area.
This would criminalize countless dog owners and caretakers who periodically secure dogs in kennel runs, within patios, and in any enclosed area with shade and shelter that do not meet the arbitrary minimum open space requirements. This would negatively affect many responsible owners, even when their dogs are provided with ample exercise opportunities, access to a large play areas, leash walking, time inside the home, etc.
Requires air conditioning/heating for cats and dogs. Every person who owns or keeps cats and dogs would be required to provide air conditioning, fans, or other cooling sources that maintain the temperature in the pet’s shelter at or below 85 degrees. Further, it would be required to either move a dog indoors or provide heating to maintain the air temperature (in an undefined area) at over 45 degrees when the outdoor temperature drops below 45 degrees. This requirement would apply to, without limitation, “short-haired breeds,” sick, aged, young, and infirm animals.
There is no scientific support for arbitrary temperature limits for dogs, as individual breeds and individual dogs have different needs and abilities to withstand certain weather conditions. A more effective provision would require that dogs and cats kept outdoors shall be provided “access to shade at all times”, “access to a shelter that provides protection from rain, snow, wind, and hail”, and “a doghouse shall have a solid floor”.
Outlaws unattended tethering. The proposed ordinance would criminalize animal owners who safely and humanely use tethers to contain or restrain their animal. This provision should be amended to allow for safely tethering an animal with access at all times to shade, shelter, and water, and for sufficient time periods to allow the owner or caretaker to attend work and school.
The American Kennel Club recognizes that tethering is a practical and humane method for training and restraining dogs in a variety of circumstances. Dogs should never be tethered in a manner that could cause harm to them. AKC opposes arbitrary restrictions on tethering, which can undermine the wellbeing of dogs, responsible dog ownership, and safe training and recreational activities.
Establishes unclear requirements for animals in vehicles. The proposed ordinance, as written, requires animals within any motor vehicle to be restrained, and as a minimum for dogs to be restrained by a harness with double tethering. This provision should be clarified to specifically apply to animals carried on or in the open beds of trucks and on other open vehicles.
Makes it unlawful to allow animals with a history of fighting from having access to each other. “History of” and “fighting” are not defined, and therefore it is unclear how this would be interpreted and enforced. This vague requirement could result in charges against the owner or caretaker of animals that wrestle, fuss, or posture at each other, or that had a spat at any time in the past. It should be noted that criminal dog fighting and cock fighting are felonies under state law.
Resources and Talking Points:
Arbitrary Temperature Restrictions Harm Dogs (video)
No Animal Was Harmed: New “Animal Cruelty” Definitions Turn Good Dog Owners into Criminals
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Attend the meeting on February 16, 2022 to voice your concerns. The meeting begins at 1:00 pm in Room 219, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood FL 33020. Click here to view the meeting calendar, then click on the Agenda for the 2/16/22 Regular City Commission Meeting to view the proposed ordinance, item #13.
Contact the city clerk’s office for public hearing information and how to be recognized to speak. Click here for information on meeting procedures and submitting a comment card at the beginning of a meeting.
- Immediately contact Hollywood city commissioners and ask them to VOTE NO on the proposed animal ordinance. Respectfully ask them to work with knowledgeable animal owners to develop measures that protect animals and that do not criminalize caring and responsible owners and caretakers.
City Commission Contact Information:
Mayor Josh Levy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Caryl S. Shuham, CSHUHAM@hollywoodfl.org
Commissioner Linda Hill Anderson, email@example.com
Commissioner Traci Callari, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Adam Gruber, email@example.com
Commissioner Keven Beiderman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Linda Sherwood, email@example.com
Phone number for mayor and city commissioners: 954-921-3321
For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.