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FL-West Palm Beach Proposes New Dangerous Dog Ordinance

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    New 'dangerous dog' ordinance proposed in Palm Beach County

    By Jennifer Sorentrue 6:42 PM EDT, July 20, 2009

    WEST PALM BEACH - Palm Beach County animal control officers want to tighten the reins on dogs that kill or severely injure other pets.

    Among the changes they are proposing: A dog would need to attack only one other pet before authorities could declare it dangerous. Under current rules, it takes two attacks to reach that status.

    "Too many times I have to look the owner of a deceased dog or cat in the face and tell them that I recognize that their loving companion is dead, but because the dog has only killed once we really can't take any action," said Dianne Sauve, director of county Animal Care and Control. "It is heart wrenching."

    Sauve will ask county commissioners to approve the changes Tuesday. She has also proposed additional requirements for owners of dangerous dogs, such as banning them from taking the animals to public parks and beaches.
    Under current rules, dogs labeled dangerous must be kept in an escape-proof enclosure and have to wear a muzzle when they are walked. Owners caught breaking the rules are issued a citation.

    The proposed changes would allow the county to impound dangerous dogs if their owners fail to keep the pets on their property or muzzle them on walks.

    To receive the "dangerous" designation, the aggressive dog must have been illegally off its owner's property and the attack must have been unprovoked, Sauve said.

    The proposed rules would also prohibit the owner of a dangerous dog from taking the pet to a dog park, beach or any commercial establishments that allows animals.

    A little more than 40 dogs in the county are classified dangerous, animal control officials said.

    "We want the ability to take the dogs that are a threat to the community and get them off of the streets," Sauve said.

    Daisy Okas, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, said the organization has not taken a position on the changes.

    "We are supportive of dangerous dog laws in general when they take an individual dog's behavior into account and hold owners responsible for their dog," she wrote.

    At least nine local governments in the state, including Broward and Miami-Dade counties, have passed laws that allow the dangerous classification after just one attack, according to the Palm Beach County attorney's office.

    New ordinance would mean a dog would need to attack only one other pet before being declared dangerous - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

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