CITY & COUNTY
Article II. ‒ Reserved(2)
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Editor's note— Ord. No. 2017-16, § 2, adopted September 9, 2017, repealed Art. II, §§ 18-31—18-37, which pertained to the animal control board and derived from Ord. No. 96-29, §§ 2—8, 10-3-1996.
Secs. 18-31—18-70. ‒ Reserved
Article III. ‒ Animal Control
Sec. 18-71. ‒ Purpose of Article.
This article is enacted for the purposes of providing necessary regulations for the control of stray, nuisance, dangerous and rabid animals in order to protect the inhabitants of the county and their property from injury, inconvenience or bother, all in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants of the county.
Ord. No. 98-3, § 3, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-72. ‒ Scope of Article.
This article shall apply and be enforced in all areas of the county not within the boundaries of any municipality. This article shall not apply to animals properly and lawfully confined in a licensed zoo or similar institution.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 4, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-73. ‒ Definitions.
The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Animal means any domesticated creature commonly kept as a pet.
Animal control officer means any person employed or appointed by the county or employed by the animal control services provider who is authorized to investigate, on public or private property, civil infractions relating to animal control or cruelly and to issue citations as provided in this article. An animal control officer is not authorized to bear arms or make arrests; however, such officer may carry a device to chemically subdue and tranquilize an animal, provided that such officer has successfully completed a minimum of 16 hours of training in marksmanship, equipment handling, safety, and animal care, and can demonstrate proficiency in chemical immobilization of animals in accordance with guidelines prescribed in the Chemical Immobilization Operational Guide of the American Humane Association.
Animal control services provider means the entity in contractual privity with the board of county commissioners and the county to provide animal control services to the county and its citizens.
Animal shelter means any premises designated by action of the board of county commissioners for the purposes of impounding and caring for all animals taken into custody for violation of, or pursuant to, this article. The shelter facility maintained by the animal control services provider shall also be known as "animal shelter.”
Citation means a written notice, issued to a person by an officer, that the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a civil infraction in violation of a duly enacted article and that the county special magistrate will hear the charge. The citation must contain:
(1) The date and time of issuance.
(2) The name and address of the person.
(3) The date and time the civil infraction was committed.
(4) The facts constituting probable cause.
(5) The article violated.
(6) The name and authority of the officer.
(7) The procedure for the person to follow in order to pay the civil penalty, to contest the citation, or to appear before the special magistrate.
(8) The applicable civil penalty if the person elects to contest the citation. (9) The applicable civil penalty if the person elects not to contest the citation.
(10) A conspicuous statement that if the person fails to pay the civil penalty within the time allowed, or fails to appear before the special magistrate to contest the citation, the person shall be deemed to have waived his right to contest the citation and that, in such case, a fine may be assessed against the person for an amount up to the maximum civil penalty.
(11) A conspicuous statement that if the person is required to appear before the special magistrate, he or she does not have the option of paying a fine in lieu of appearing before the special magistrate.
Dangerous dog means any dog that according to the records of the appropriate authority:
(1) Has aggressively bitten, attacked or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;
(2) Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner's property; (3) Has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dogfighting, or is a dog trained for dog fighting; or
(4) Has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack; provided that such actions are attested to in a sworn statement by one or more persons and dutifully investigated by the appropriate authority. This definition is intended to conform to the definition of "dangerous dog" as set forth in F.S. § 767.11.
Injury means any physical injury caused by an animal.
Notice of violation means a written notice issued to a person by an officer whom the officer has probable cause to believe may have committed a violation of this article.
Nuisance animal means any animal which:
(1) Has defecated on property not owned or controlled by the animal's owner, when said feces is not immediately removed by the animal's owner or agent.
(2) Has destroyed or removed personal items from property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(3) Has turned over garbage cans on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(4) Has chased or bitten children or adults.
(5) Carries rabies.
(6) Carries contagious disease on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(7) Has chased cars or bicycles on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(8) Has destroyed clothing on clotheslines on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(9) Has dug holes or destroyed gardens on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(10) Has trespassed and eaten pet food on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(11) Has chased, harassed, or killed domestic livestock such as horses, cows, or goats, or other domestic animals such as chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, or cats on property not owned or controlled by its owner.
(12) Has barked or meowed without provocation excessively so as to disturb the peace of the occupants of adjacent properties.
(13) Is running at large, not on the owner's property.
Officer means any law enforcement officer defined in F.S. § 943.10, any veterinarian defined in F.S. § 474.202, or any animal control officer. It is the intent of this article for the animal control officer to be the primary enforcement officer, but he may be assisted by any other officer.
Owner means any person or persons, firm, corporation, or organization possessing, harboring, keeping, or having control or custody of an animal or, if the animal is owned by a person under the age of 18 years, that person's parent or guardian.
Restraint means an animal controlled by leash or under the control of a competent person and obedient to that person's commands.
Scratch means an injury caused by an animal's claw which breaks the skin.
Stray means any animal, either on public property or on private property neither owned or controlled by the owner of the animal, nor on which the animal is present by permission of the landowner or his agent, which animal is not under restraint of its owner. Stray shall not mean a hunting dog while hunting on public or private property so long as the animal is lawfully present on the property with the consent of the property owner.
Veterinarian means any veterinarian as defined in F.S. § 474.202.
Written notification means any notice of violation given either by regular U.S. mail if the mailing address of the person being notified is known, (the date of notice shall be deemed the day following the postmark of such notice) hand-delivery to the person being notified, or by prominently posting the written notice on residency or premises of the person being notified. The animal control officer shall select the method of written notification deemed by him to be most practical and effective under existing circumstances. Nothing contained herein shall dictate that any one method of written notification be used over another.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 5, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, §§ 3a., 4a. 9-7-2017)
Cross-reference — Definitions generally, § 1-2.
State Law reference — Similar provisions, F.S. § 828.27 (1).
Sec. 18-74. ‒ Animal Restraint.
Every animal shall be confined within an enclosure sufficient to prevent the animal's escape upon property that is either owned or controlled by the animal's owner or upon other property with the consent of the owner of that property. For purposes of this section, any animal kept indoors shall be presumed to be confined. Confinement shall not be required where the animal is under restraint upon a tether preventing the animal from leaving property it is permitted to be upon. Confinement shall not be required when the animal is on a leash within the owner's control and the leash prevents the animal from roaming freely onto the property of others. This provision shall not be construed to authorize the tethering of animals where such tethering deprives an animal of shelter, food, or water.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 6, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, § 5a., 9-7-2017)
State Law reference— Legal fences and livestock at large, F.S. ch. 588.
Sec. 18-75. ‒ Stray / Nuisance Animals.
(a) Impoundment. No owner shall allow his animal to stray anywhere in the unincorporated territory of the county. All stray/nuisance animals shall be taken into custody by the animal control officer or any officer, and impounded in the animal shelter, except livestock, including cows and horses, shall be dealt with by the office of the sheriff of the county, pursuant to F.S. §§ 588.13—588.25, inclusive, and not by the animal control officer. The animal control officer, or any other officer, shall make a reasonable effort, including looking for tattoos and/or scanning for microchips, to locate the owner of such stray animal. On a violation of this section by an owner, a citation for violation may issue to the owner. Any owner of a stray animal that has been impounded shall be entitled to have the animal returned to him after all impounding fees have been paid in cash with proof of current rabies vaccination by a licensed veterinarian.
(b) Holding period. If the owner of the stray/nuisance animal is not known and the animal is not otherwise claimed within three working days (Monday through Friday, except legal holidays) of such impoundment, such animal shall come into the custody of the animal control services provider for adoption or other humane disposition. If the stray/nuisance animal is a puppy believed in the opinion of the animal control services provider to be less than 12 weeks of age, then such animal shall come into the immediate custody of the animal control services provider for adoption or other humane disposition.
(c) Animal shelter; injured animals. When the owner of the stray/nuisance animal is known, if the animal is not claimed within three working days after a telephone contact with the owner, or within seven working days after written notification given to the owner, the animal shall come into the custody of the animal control services provider, a/k/a "animal shelter," for adoption or other humane disposition. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, if the animal control officer shall discover any stray animal that is mortally injured and in such a condition that the animal control officer believes the animal is suffering greatly and, without reasonable expectation of recovery, the animal control officer shall immediately notify, if reasonably possible, the owner of such animal's condition. If the owner does not collect said animal within one hour of receiving such actual notice, or if the animal's owner is not known, or cannot be reasonably located within a 60-minute time period, then the animal control officer shall humanely dispose of such injured animal. The animal control officer shall use reasonable efforts to notify as promptly as possible the owner of any such animal if known. When acting pursuant to this provision, no liability shall arise by reason of the act of this disposition of the animal.
(d) Return to owner. All stray/nuisance animals shall be returned to their owners upon reasonable proof of ownership and after cash payment of all fees and costs of impoundment by the owner or on the owner's behalf with the owner's permission, and with proof of current rabies vaccination by a licensed veterinarian. For purposes of this section, reasonable fees and costs of impoundment may be assessed by the animal control services provider in an amount sufficient to offset the actual expenses incurred by the animal control services provider in connection with the impoundment of the stray/nuisance animal impounded under this section.
(e) Vaccination. If a person cannot show proof of current rabies vaccination by a licensed veterinarian, the person shall be given three working days in which to bring proof. If the animal has not been vaccinated, then the animal control officer may allow the owner to take the animal to have its rabies vaccination and provide the animal control officer or his designee proof thereof within three working days.
(f) Stray or nuisance animal. After the receipt of a complaint, in any form, of a stray/nuisance animal, the animal control officer is authorized to determine if the animal is a stray/nuisance. If the nuisance animal is a stray, the officer is authorized to immediately take the animal into custody and to handle the animal in accordance herewith as a stray animal. If the animal is not a stray, the animal control officer shall give written notification to the owner of the animal of the nuisance complaint. If the animal continues to be a nuisance for more time than given by such written notification, the animal control officer or any other officer is authorized to take said animal into custody and to handle the animal in accordance herewith, and the owner shall be deemed in violation hereof of this article.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 7, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, §§ 4b., 6a., 7a., 9-7-2017)
Cross-reference — Public nuisances, § 42-171 et seq.
State Law reference — Health nuisances pertaining to animals, F.S. § 386.041.
Sec. 18-76. ‒ Dangerous Dog.
Dangerous dogs will be defined and subject to all the provisions of F.S. §§ 767.10—767.15.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 8, 4-18-1998)
State Law reference — Damage by dogs generally, F.S. ch. 767.
Sec. 18-77. ‒ Fees.
When any animal shall be impounded pursuant to this article, the animal control services provider, shall collect from the owner thereof such administrative fees and daily boarding fees, as may, by resolution, be established by the board of county commissioners.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 9, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, § 4b., 9-7-2017)
Sec. 18-78. ‒ Limitations on Right to Enter Private Property.
For the purpose of discharging the duties imposed by this article, and for enforcing its provisions, the animal control officer is empowered to enter upon any private property, not including any dwelling, structure or fenced enclosure, except the animal control officer or any officer may enter a fenced enclosure for the purpose of posting notices or citations required by the animal control officer's duties, impounding any animal known or suspected with legal probable cause of biting any person, or any animal infected with or suspected of showing suspicious symptoms of rabies. Whenever practicable, the officer shall make every reasonable effort to contact the property owner prior to entering a fenced enclosure for the purpose of enforcing this article.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 10, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, § 8, 9-7-2017)
State Law reference — Trespass, F.S. § 810.011 et seq.
Sec. 18-79. ‒ Rabies Vaccination.
All dogs, cats and ferrets four months of age or older must be currently (in accordance with the particular type vaccine) vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian against rabies with a United States government-approved vaccine. The cost of vaccination must be borne by the animal's owner. F.S. § 828.30 shall govern issues pertaining to rabies vaccination.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 11, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-80. ‒ Animals Infected with Rabies.
It shall be the duty of the owner of and any person knowing of any animal infected with or showing suspicious symptoms of rabies or any unusual behavior to report the same within 12 hours to the animal control officer, law enforcement officer or county health department who shall promptly forward a copy of the report to the county health department within 12 hours.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 12, 4-18-1998)
State Law reference — Dangerous transmissible disease a public nuisance, F.S. § 585.15.
Sec. 18-81. ‒ Report of Person or Animal Bitten or Scratched by a Suspected Infected Animal.
It shall be the duty of any person bitten or scratched or having knowledge of or treating any person bitten or scratched by any animal to report the fact of such bite or scratch promptly within 12 hours to the animal control officer, law enforcement officer or county health department who shall promptly notify and forward a copy of such report to the county health department. It shall be the duty of any person knowing of or treating any animal bitten by another animal having or suspected of having rabies to report the facts thereof within 12 hours to the animal control officer, law enforcement officer or county health department who shall promptly forward a copy of such report to the county health department.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 13, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-82. ‒ Duties of the County Health Officer in Suspected Rabies Cases.
Whenever the animal control officer or any officer shall be informed that any animal has bitten or scratched any person or is suspected of having or has shown suspicious symptoms of rabies or any other zoonotic infectious or contagious disease, the following procedure shall be followed:
(1) Quarantine. The owner of such animal shall surrender it to the animal control officer or licensed veterinarian, or if the animal is running at large, the animal control officer shall capture such animal. In the capture of such animal, the officer shall not kill such animal unless in its capture a clear and present danger upon or injury to the officer or other persons exists. Such animal shall be placed in quarantine for observation for a period of at least ten days from the date of bite or scratch. If such animal's rabies vaccination is current by a licensed veterinarian, home quarantine shall be allowed. As to any wild animal or any animal tamed from a wild environment which has bitten or scratched any person, the county health unit administrator shall cause the detachment of such animal's head without mutilation, and send it to the proper state department of health laboratory for pathological examination, if in the opinion of such county health department such injury was the result of an aggressive and overt act, and if in the opinion of the said county health department, such animal exhibits any symptoms of rabies, or if the physician of the person bitten or scratched requests such action.
(2) Costs; removal from confinement. The quarantine of any animal when required pursuant to this article shall be as provided by F.A.C. 10D-3.91(4), as the same now exists or may be hereafter amended. No animal shall be released or removed from the initial quarantine or confinement unless permission is obtained from the county health department. The owner, if known, shall bear the cost of the care, feeding and maintenance of the quarantined animal, and pay any medical and veterinarian expenses reasonably incurred for the animal.
(3) Head of rabid animal sent to laboratory. If rabies is diagnosed, or if the animal in quarantine dies, or if the animal exhibits any symptoms of rabies within the period, it shall be the duty of the county health department to cause the detachment without mutilation of the head of the animal and forward it to the proper state department of health laboratory for pathological examination.
(4) Areawide quarantine. When the report of the pathological examination indicates a positive diagnosis, the county health department may, in its discretion, invoke an areawide quarantine for a period determined to be prudent under the circumstances, not to exceed 120 days, and shall take such steps as are reasonably necessary to advise area residents of such area-wide quarantine. During such quarantine, each owner within the quarantined area shall confine his animals or otherwise maintain his animals under restraint.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 14, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-83. ‒ Penalty for Failure to Surrender of Animals for destruction or Quarantine.
Any person who shall fail to surrender an animal for quarantine, or any person who shall fail to surrender any animal for destruction as provided herein shall be guilty of a violation of this article and shall be issued a citation for the violation.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 15, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-84. ‒ Surrender of Carcass of Rabid Animal.
Any person upon demand shall surrender to the animal control officer, or the county health department, the carcass of any dead animal exposed to or suspected of having been exposed to rabies. Refusal by any person to surrender such animal carcass shall be a violation of this article and shall be issued a citation for the violation.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 16, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-85. ‒ Dumping Animals.
No person shall intentionally abandon any animal on any public or private lands. Such intentional abandonment shall be a violation of this article, and may be issued a citation for the violation. This shall include no dumping of live or dead animals on public roads, private property, or in any dumpster.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 17, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-86. ‒ Female Dogs / Cats in Heat.
Female dogs/cats in heat shall be humanely confined in a suitable building or secure enclosure in a manner so as to prevent them from breeding with any intact male except for planned breeding. The owner of any female dog/cat in heat not confining the animal as provided herein shall be guilty of a violation of this article, and may be issued a citation for the violation.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 18, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-87. ‒ Interference with Animal Control Officer.
It shall be a violation of this article for any person to interfere with, hinder, resist, obstruct, or molest any animal control officer in the performance of his official duties. It shall also be a violation of this article for any person to seek to release or remove any animal from the custody of the animal control officer or the animal control vehicle or a designated impoundment facility or to otherwise tear down, burn, deface, destroy, or otherwise injure any property, vehicle, or equipment of any designated impoundment facility. A violation as provided in this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of all other violations provided by law.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 19, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-88. ‒ Violation of Article.
(a) Civil infraction. Except as to the provisions for a dangerous dog, section 18-76, the violation of this article is a civil infraction.
(b) Order to show cause. If a person who has received a citation fails to pay the civil penalty, fails to appear before the special magistrate to contest the citation, or fails to appear before the special magistrate when the citation requires the person to do so, the special magistrate may issue an order to show cause or take such other or further action authorized by law. An order to show cause shall require such person to appear before the special magistrate to explain why action on the citation has not been taken and why the person should not be subject to other lawful disposition by the special magistrate. If any person that is issued such order fails to appear in response to the special magistrate's directive, that person may be found to have waived any such appearance and fines or corrective action shall be ordered accordingly. This subsection is not intended to limit, but is in addition to all other lawful actions which the special magistrate may take when a citation has been issued.
(c) Mandatory appearance. Any citation issued pursuant to this article may require mandatory appearances before the special magistrate for violations resulting in the unprovoked biting, attacking, wounding, or killing of a human or domestic animal; violations resulting in the destruction or loss of personal property; violations of local animal cruelty laws; or violations resulting in the issuance of a third or subsequent citation to a person. The citation must clearly inform the person of such mandatory appearance. The animal control official or the board of county commissioners or its authorized representatives shall maintain sufficient records to prove the number of citations issued to the person. Persons required to appear shall not have the option of paying the fine instead of appearing.
(d) Dangerous dogs. In the event of a violation of section 18-76 with respect to a dangerous dog, the owner of a dangerous dog shall be subject to all the penalties provided by F.S. §§ 767.10—767.15, except that the hearings afforded to an owner pursuant to section 767.12 shall be before the special magistrate.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 20, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, § 3b., 9-7-2017)
Sec. 18-89. ‒ Issuance of Citation for Violation.
Any animal control officer who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed an act in violation of this article shall forthwith issue a citation for such violation. Any person who willfully refuses to sign and accept a citation issued by an animal control officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided by F.S. §§ 775.082 or 775.083.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 21, 4-18-1998)
Sec. 18-90. ‒ Penalties for Violation of Article.
(a) Citation not contested. If a person does not contest a citation received pursuant to this article and shall pay the applicable civil penalty prior to the date specified on the citation, then the applicable civil penalty for each violation shall be as follows:
(1) Section 18-76: stray/nuisance animal ..... $ 50.00
(2) Section 18-80: rabies vaccination ..... 50.00
(3) Section 18-84: surrender of animal for quarantine or destruction ..... 100.00
(4) Section 18-85: surrender of carcass of rabid animal ..... 100.00
(5) Section 18-86: dumping animals ..... 500.00
(6) Section 18-87: female dogs/cats in heat ..... 50.00
(7) Section 18-88: interference with animal control officer ..... 100.00
(8) Section 18-78: dangerous dog (as provided by state statute) ..... 500.00
(9) Administrative costs for magistrate proceedings ..... 250.00
(10) In accordance with F.S. § 828.27(4)(b), in addition to the foregoing penalties, a surcharge of $5.00 shall be imposed for each violation, the proceeds of which shall be used to pay the cost of training for animal control officers.
(b) Contest of violation. If a person elects to contest a violation received pursuant to this article, upon a finding by the greater weight of the evidence by the special magistrate that the person so cited did commit the violation as described in the citation, the special magistrate shall impose a penalty not to exceed the penalty as set forth in section 18-91(a), plus administrative costs. Upon such a finding, a code enforcement lien shall issue against the violator in the name of the board of county commissioners in the amount of the civil penalty together with such costs as imposed by the special magistrate, which shall be collected as any civil judgment.
(c) Payment of penalties. All penalties for citations, together with applicable fees or costs issued pursuant to this article, shall be paid to the clerk of the circuit court of the county as general revenue for the county, together with the $5.00 surcharge as provided in F.S. § 828.27(4)(b).
(d) Second or subsequent violation. In addition to all other penalties provided herein, in the case of a second or subsequent violation, the special magistrate may order the animal taken into the custody of the animal shelter, for adoption or other humane disposition.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 22, 4-18-1998; Ord. No. 2017-16, § 3c., 9-7-2017)
Sec. 18-89. ‒ Issuance of Citation for Violation.
(a) To contest any citation, the violator must appear before the special magistrate on the date shown on the citation. The rules of evidence applicable in all hearings for contested citations shall be the same as small claims rules in civil cases except to the extent inconsistent with this article, and may be liberally construed by the special magistrate. The citation shall constitute the statement of claim, delivery of the citation shall constitute service of process and notice of hearing.
(b) Appeal from any judgment of the special magistrate shall be the same cost and method as an appeal from any civil judgment in small claims court. (Ord. No. 98-3, § 23, 4-18-1998;
Ord. No. 2017-16, § 3d., 9-7-2017)
Sec. 18-92. ‒ Construction of Article Provisions.
The provisions of this article may be liberally construed in order to effectively carry out the purpose of this article in the interest of the public health, welfare, and safety of the citizens and residents of the county.
(Ord. No. 98-3, § 24, 4-18-1998)
Secs. 18-93—18-120. ‒ Reserved