Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 081388
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File Number: 081388 File Type: Ordinance Status: Second Reading
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: ANTI-TETHERING ORDINANCE Introduced: 5/2/2008
Requester: Animal Services Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 10/7/2008 Agenda Item Number: 7K
Notes: SEE 082976 FOR FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED [JAM] Title: ORDINANCE PERTAINING TO ANIMALS; CREATING SECTION 5-21 AND AMENDING SECTION 8CC-10 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY (THE ''CODE''); REGULATING THE TETHERING OF DOGS; PROVIDING AUTHORITY FOR ENFORCEMENT BY CIVIL PENALTY; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
Indexes: ANIMALS
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Dorrin D. Rolle, Co-Sponsor
  Katy Sorenson, Co-Sponsor
  Sen. Javier D. Souto, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 10/7/2008 7K Amended
REPORT: See Report Under Agenda Item 7K AMENDED, Legislative File No. 082976.

Health and Public Safety Committee 9/11/2008 2A Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Chairman Moss asked, in light of the Committee’s full support of this ordinance, in lieu of a public hearing for this item, that the Animal Services Department Director present a brief overview, and following this presentation, those individuals registered to speak could stand in recognition of their support. Dr. Sara Pizano, Director, Animal Services Department (ASD), provided a brief historical overview of this ordinance, which was included in the Chapter 5 Rewrite in January 2008. She noted an amendment was proposed to include language providing that: 1) A six-month grace period would commence upon the adoption of this ordinance, allowing the department to educate the community; and 2) A warning, rather than a citation, would be issued for first time chained dog offenders; followed by a second visit in 30 days. There being no one to appear in opposition to this ordinance, Chairman Moss invited those individuals present in support of this item to stand and be recognized. Commissioner Diaz commented on the hard work performed by those individuals standing in the audience, to obtain signatures and educate the community regarding the importance of regulating the tethering of dogs. Discussion ensued among committee members and staff regarding the potential for error when observing a dog being tethered and the difference between this legislation and the leash law. Dr. Pizano explained that this ordinance applied to the offense of tethering dogs for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In response to Commissioner Heyman’s question as to whether the language in this ordinance was sufficient for determining a violation, Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez advised that a Hearing Examiner would determine whether the ordinance had been violated. Commissioner Heyman took this opportunity to recognize Miami-Dade County Commission for adopting legislation providing support for the first emergency evacuation pet shelter and for developing the criteria of an evacuation shelter plan. Commissioner Gimenez noted he particularly liked the language in Subsection (b) (1) of the ordinance that required responsible parties to be located outside with any tethered dogs. Honorable Councilwoman Isis Garcia-Martinez, City of Hialeah, appeared in support and addressed the importance of this issue of preventing the abuse of animals. Mr. Mario Beovides, Assistant to the Honorable Commissioner Joe M. Sanchez, City of Miami, appeared in support of this ordinance, on behalf of Commissioner Sanchez. Chairman Moss and Commissioners Heyman, Sosa, and Gimenez asked to be added as co-sponsors of this ordinance. Ms. Marjorie Glickman (phonetic), Palmetto Bay resident, appeared and submitted to the committee, 10,373 signed petitions supporting legislation to ban the tethering of dogs countywide. She identified several prominent individuals and officials whose signatures attested to their support of this legislation. Ms Glickman (phonetic) also provided committee members with booklets containing pictures of dogs with injuries resulting from being tethered. There being no other individuals to appear, Chairman Moss closed the public hearing There being no further questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote.

Board of County Commissioners 5/20/2008 Tentatively scheduled for a public hearing Health and Public Safety Committee 6/12/2008

Board of County Commissioners 5/20/2008 4E Adopted on first reading 6/12/2008 P
REPORT: The Board adopted the foregoing proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading and scheduled the public hearing before the June 12, 2008, Health and Public Safety Committee, at 2:00 p.m.

County Attorney 5/5/2008 Assigned Dennis A. Kerbel 5/5/2008

County Manager 5/2/2008 Referred Health and Public Safety Committee 6/12/2008

County Manager 5/2/2008 Assigned County Attorney 5/20/2008
REPORT: ANIMAL SERVCES (HPSC COMTE 6/12/08 - PH, 1ST RDG 5/20/08 & 2ND RDG 7/1/08)

County Manager 5/2/2008 Assigned Alina Tejeda-Hudak 5/2/2008

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE PERTAINING TO ANIMALS; CREATING SECTION 5-21 AND AMENDING SECTION 8CC-10 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY (THE “CODE”); REGULATING THE TETHERING OF DOGS; PROVIDING AUTHORITY FOR ENFORCEMENT BY CIVIL PENALTY; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Section 5-21 of the Code of Miami-Dade County is hereby created as follows:1
Sec. 5-21. Tethering of dogs.
(a) As used in this section, tether means to restrain a dog by tying the dog to any object or structure, including without limitation a house, tree, fence, post, garage, or shed, by any means, including without limitation a chain, rope, cord, leash, or running line. Tethering shall not include using a leash to walk a dog.
(b) It shall be unlawful for a responsible party to tether a dog while outdoors, except when all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The dog is in visual range of the responsible party, and the responsible party is located outside with the dog.
(2) The tether is connected to the dog by a buckle-type collar or a body harness made of nylon or leather, not less than one inch in width.
(3) The tether has the following properties: it is at least five times the length of the dog’s body, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail; it terminates at both ends with a swivel; it does not weigh more than 1/8 of the dog's weight; and it is free of tangles.
(4) The dog is tethered in such a manner as to prevent injury, strangulation, or entanglement.
(5) The dog is not outside during a period of extreme weather, including without limitation extreme heat or near-freezing temperatures, thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical storms, or hurricanes.
(6) The dog has access to water, shelter, and dry ground.
(7) The dog is at least six months of age. Puppies shall not be tethered.
(8) The dog is not sick or injured.
(9) Pulley, running line, or trolley systems are at least 15 feet in length and are less than 7 feet above the ground.
(10) If there are multiple dogs, each dog is tethered separately.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to excuse a violation of § 5-20 of this chapter.
(d) This section shall not apply to the transportation of dogs, and in the event of a conflict with § 5-15 of this chapter, § 5-15 shall govern.
(e) For a first-time violation, the Department shall issue a warning notice to the responsible party and shall wait at least thirty (30) days before taking any further enforcement action against the responsible party. Thereafter, each violation of this section shall be subject to enforcement in accordance with § 5-2 of this chapter.

Section 2. Section 8CC-10 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 8CC-10. Schedule of civil penalties.

The following table shows the sections of this Code, as they may be amended from time to time, which may be enforced pursuant to the provisions of this chapter; and the dollar amount of civil penalty for the violation of these sections as they may be amended.

The "descriptions of violations" below are for informational purposes only and are not meant to limit or define the nature of the violations or the subject matter of the listed Code sections, except to the extent that different types of violations of the same Code section may carry different civil penalties. For each Code section listed in the schedule of civil penalties, the entirety of that section may be enforced by the mechanism provided in this Chapter 8CC, regardless of whether all activities proscribed or required within that particular section are described in the "Description of Violation" column. To determine the exact nature of any activity proscribed or required by this Code, the relevant Code section must be examined.

Code Section Description of Violation Civil Penalty >>5-21 Unlawful tethering of dog $250.00<<
Section 3. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 4. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word “ordinance” may be changed to “section,” “article,” or other appropriate word.
Section 5. This ordinance shall become effective one hundred and eighty (180) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.


1 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.

HEADER
Date:

To: Honorable Chairman Bruno A. Barreiro
and Members, Board of County Commissioners

From: George M. Burgess
County Manager

Subject:Anti-tethering ordinance
Recommendation
It is recommended that the Board of County Commissioners (Board) approve the attached ordinance regulating the tethering of dogs, requiring that owners be present if their dogs are tethered.

Scope
An anti-tethering ordinance would affect Miami-Dade County in its entirety.

Fiscal Impact/Funding Source
No additional resources will be requested in association with this ordinance.

Track Record/Monitor
Animal Services is a ‘complaint driven’ department. Service requests are addressed in order of priority and statistics analyzed on an ongoing basis by the department. This category of complaints will be tracked within the departmental database.

Background

By nature, dogs require socialization. Tethering or chaining a dog continually is not the recommended way to house a dog for many reasons. When threatened, dogs will have a ‘fight or flight’ response. When chained, they are unable to run to get out of harm’s way and are therefore forced to fight out of fear. In a 2003 press release concerning dog bites, the American Veterinary Medical Association stated, ‘Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggression’. Additionally, in the American Humane Association’s Fiscal Year 2005-2006 Annual Report, it stated ‘tethering of dogs is a major risk factor in dog bites and represents a serious, under-recognized form of animal cruelty’.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took a position in 1997 by enforcing the Federal Animal Welfare Act (FAWA). The USDA concluded that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane because a tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury. The FAWA covers dogs in research, circuses or breeding colonies.
Since 1997, many major national animal welfare organizations have supported anti-tethering legislation to include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. To date, the states of California, Texas, Virginia and Connecticut have banned tethering along with over 100 cities and counties nationwide. The state of Florida has been analyzing such legislation recently.



On January 22, 2008, an anti-tethering section was included in the re-write of Chapter V of the Miami Dade County Code and was presented to the Board. While the Board approved the changes in Chapter V, it was requested that the anti-tethering section be removed and reintroduced independently at a later time.

In the interest of properly educating our citizens, the department will delay the enforcement of an anti-tethering law for six months after passing the ordinance to ensure the community is well-informed on the issue. Outreach will be done to include press releases, posting information on the Animal Services website, updating our ‘It’s the Law!’ flyer, publishing articles in the local veterinary association newsletter and posting information in the shelter. Once the grace period has passed, a 30 day warning will be given to first-time violators prior to the issuance of a citation.








_______________________________
Assistant County Manager



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