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SDFA, INC.

PO BOX 521513

  LONGWOOD, FL 32752-1513

SDFA

Bringing Central Florida AKC Canine Enthusiasts Together!

The latest news...

 

 

 

Legislation That Affects You

 

 

(Reprinted with permission from the American Kennel Club's Taking Command)

 

 

July 2003

 

- Pasco County residents are currently limited to no more than nine adult dogs and cats per household. However, a new proposal could lower that number to three or five pets, depending on the size of the property. The AKC sent a statement of opposition to county commissioners.

- Hillsborough County officials approved stringent revisions to their dangerous dog law in June. Under the new ordinance, a dog can be deemed "aggressive" if it bites or attacks a person just once. Owners will be fined $450 and could face criminal and civil charges if the dog attacks again. Successive fines may be reduced if the dog is put through obedience school. The new law also increases license fees for intact animals from $20 to $30. The additional money will fund a new education program designed to teach people how to avoid dog bites. Owners of dangerous dogs will now be required to pay an annual $500 registration fee and muzzle their dogs whenever in public. They will also have to notify their neighbors they own a dangerous dog, and will have their animals placed on a dangerous dog Web site for review by the public.

June 2003

 

S2350 was tabled in May and substituted by H1911, a similar dog fighting bill. The legislation punishes not only those who bait animals but also those who breed, train, sell, own or transport animals used for fighting. H1911 also prohibits owning or selling equipment used for any of the above activities. Finally, the bill provides for the search, seizure, impoundment and euthanasia of dogs suspected of being involved in fighting. H1911 passed the Senate in May.

 

 

May 2003

 

H1429, which would have made it a felony to own, breed, train, transport or sell animals for the purpose of fighting, was withdrawn from further consideration in March.

- On the same subject, the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee is considering PS11, a bill to amend the state's animal fighting law. The legislation would punish not only those who bait animals but also those who breed, train, sell, own or transport animals used for fighting. PS11 also prohibits owning or selling equipment used for any of the above activities. Finally, the bill provides for the search, seizure, impoundment and euthanasia of dogs suspected of being involved in fighting.

- The City of Sebastian is considering establishing a dog park. The Canine Legislation department sent a letter of support and materials to the mayor in April.

 

 

April 2003

 

Rep. Marco Rubio is sponsoring H1429, which revises the state's animal fighting laws. The bill makes it a felony to own, breed, train, transport or sell animals for the purpose of fighting. It is a felony under existing law to hold an animal fight, but H1429 goes a step further to punish those who perform any service to facilitate a fight, including refereeing or providing security. The bill also provides for the seizure, impoundment and possible euthanasia of fighting animals. H1429 was jointly referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Public Safety and Crime Prevention. A companion bill, S2350, is being sponsored by Sen. Ron Klein.

- City commissioners in Delray approved legislation requiring that dogs be kept behind a "secure" fence on private property. The invasive new law will impact countless responsible owners, including those who rely on electronic fences or voice control to keep their dogs from running off their property. Hedges and low fences that a dog can jump over will not be considered "secure." Outraged dog owners argue proper enforcement of the city's existing leash law would address problems with loose dogs.

- Deliberations in Jacksonville continue as fanciers work to stave off intrusive animal control regulations. City officials have released several unofficial drafts of the revisions that have included everything from a limit law, which has since been dropped, to restrictions on rescue groups, mandatory spay/neuter, and extreme penalties for nuisance violations. Concerned animal owners are working with city officials to amend these onerous provisions. For more information, contact Darla Duffey of the Alliance of Responsible Pet Owners of North East Florida (dduffey@aol.com).

 

 

January/February 2003

No Info Available for March 2003

Despite their regular monitoring of local legislation, Lee County fanciers were caught by surprise when commissioners enacted a differential licensing ordinance in December. The new law substantially increases the fee for unaltered dogs and cats to $25 per animal. Area fanciers quickly mobilized and are working with local veterinarians and officials to have the ordinance amended or repealed. The Canine Legislation department sent a statement of opposition to county commissioners in December. For more information, contact Lois Davis, Greater Fort Myers Dog Club (941-690-7258).

- Weston officials may soon require muzzles and leashes on all dogs declared dangerous when they are off their owners' property. The animals would also have to be confined to a fenced yard, and violators would face fines of up to $500 per day. The proposal mirrors a similar ordinance enacted by Broward County in 2002. Officials felt the measure addressed dangerous dog concerns without singling out certain breeds.

- Jacksonville fanciers are once again facing egregious animal control legislation, this time in the form of breeding restrictions. Among other provisions, breeders would be required to obtain kennel permits and submit to annual inspections. Rescue groups would be required to follow the same strict regulations as kennels, which could seriously hamper their programs. Forming a coalition called the Alliance of Responsible Pet Owners of North East Florida, fanciers and other animal groups were able to quell discussions of a limit law last year. For a time it seemed they had opened a door toward working with Animal Control on recommending fair, enforceable changes to the city's ordinance. Purebred dog owners were therefore shocked to learn that a new ordinance had been drafted without their input. The measure has yet to come before the city council, but fanciers are hoping to stop it before it does. The Canine Legislation department supported their efforts in a letter to key city officials in January. For more information, contact Darla Duffey of the Greater Orange Park Dog Club (dduffey@aol.com).

 

 

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