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On September 27, 2016, the Palm Beach Board of County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing and final vote on proposed amendments to the animal control ordinance. The provisions of the ordinance will be applicable to all incorporated and unincorporated areas of Palm Beach County, unless a municipal exemption applies.

Although the proposed ordinance includes some positive provisions, certain definitions and amendments are unclear as to their meaning and interpretation, and therefore could have a negative impact on responsible hobby breeders and pet owners. These sections include, but are not limited to:

  • The proposed ordinance would strike a specific exemption for hobby breeders that is stated in current law. Existing section 4-23(a)(2) states that it shall not be interpreted to require a hobby breeder to obtain an operating permit as an animal establishment. Under the proposed ordinance, “hobby breeder” would be deleted from this statement of interpretation. This could potentially allow the interpretation that hobby breeders, in addition to obtaining a hobby breeder permit, must also obtain a permit to operate as an animal establishment, and thereby be subject to extensive regulations, facility engineering requirements, additional fees, reporting, and other requirements. 
  • The proposed ordinance would redefine “pet dealer” to mean “any person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit engages the sale of a dog(s) or cat(s) for use as a pet but who does not engage in breeding dogs or cats”. Certain non-profit and humane organizations and shelters would be exempted.  However it is unclear if under this amended definition, a person (other than a breeder) who sells a single dog or cat would be required to obtain a permit and comply with extensive regulations, fees, inspections, and zoning requirements as a pet dealer and/or an animal establishment.  Further, after November 1, 2016, no new permit would be approved for any pet dealer that offers for sale dogs or cats. 

Pet owners and hobby breeders in Palm Beach County are urged to contact members of the Board of County Commissioners to express their concerns and respectfully ask that these sections of the proposed ordinance be clarified and corrected.

Additional amendments could be added to the proposed ordinance prior to the final vote. The agenda for the commission meeting on September 16, with links to the proposed ordinance, will be posted online at http://www.pbcgov.com/countycommissioners/agenda.htm.  According to the county website, the “agenda and any backup materials attached thereto is for informational purposes only and is subject to additions, deletions, or revisions at any time, up to and during the meeting, without notice to the public. For more information call the County Agenda Coordinator, (561) 355-3229.”

Concerned pet owners are also encouraged to attend the public hearing and meeting:

Board of County Commissioners Meeting
September 27, 2016
9:00 a.m.
Palm Beach County Robert Weisman Governmental Center
Jane M. Thompson Memorial Chambers, 6th Floor
301 N Olive Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Please contact the County Agenda Coordinator at (561) 355-3229 for information about changes to the proposed ordinance, meeting details, and how to participate in the public hearing.

For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3645 or doglaw@akc.org.

On September 27, 2016, the Palm Beach Board of County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing and final vote on proposed amendments to the animal control ordinance. Although the proposed ordinance includes some positive provisions, certain definitions and amendments are unclear as to their meaning and interpretation, and therefore could have a negative impact on responsible hobby breeders and pet owners.

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