Thursday, November 6, 2008

Having a pet in Florida

I pick on Florida a lot compared to other states. The reason I feel comfortable doing this is a)I am a native and my family helped settle this state about 1840. b)I have never been known to be politically correct when it comes to animal rescue and finally c)Florida has some of the most inane, convoluted and contradictory laws when it comes to animals.
Several years ago I became aware of a group who was focused on anti-tethering laws. Research in animal behavior shows dogs which are tethered suffer from no socialization and are basically prisoners on chains. For more information, check them out here. They have made lots of progress in many states with new laws prohibiting chaining or tying a dog outside.
So when I saw a press release from Dade County explaining their new anti-tethering laws, I stopped and read it. Here's the press release: "In an effort to improve the safety of Miami-Dade residents and the wellbeing of pets, Chapter V of the Miami-Dade County Code pertaining to animals has been amended and the County's first anti-tethering law will go into affect April 2009 to give pet owners ample time to learn about the new regulations.''
"Our goal is to protect our residents and pets," said Dr. Sara Pizano, Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services. "Studies show that tethered dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite. The Anti-tethering ordinance will ensure pets are treated humanely and our children play safer." Animal Services is working with volunteers and trainers to educate the community about anti-tethering and proving useful resources for a smooth transition.
Effective April 2009, it will be unlawful to tether (chain) your pet unless you are present. In the event a pet is illegally tethered (chained), the pet owner will receive a warning. Failure to take corrective action will result in a civil penalty for cruelty of $100 and a $500 civil penalty for additional offenses. A complete copy of Chapter V can be obtained in the Animal Services website www.miamidade.gov/animals.
I am happy this is going in effect. I think it may create a better life for the dogs and if we can educate at the same time, all the better.
But, let us not forget Dade County has a ban on pit bulls, so while they are speaking of making life better for people and pets, they can remove your pet from your home legally and then have it destroyed, simply because of the breed. Then fine you $500.00 for owning a pit bull.
See what I mean about inane and contradictory? Only in Florida.

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