Land O’ Lakes dog owners have some new rules to follow.
The Pasco County Commission approved changes to its animal ordinance yesterday, Feb. 19, that outlaw tethering dogs on chains unless they’re under direct human supervision. The law does not pertain to dogs on leashes out for walks.
The new tethering law is just one of several changes made to the ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting. Other changes include new restrictions for kennels and other rules that are meant to help ensure animals are properly cared for.
The tethering rules make it mandatory for a person to be physically outside with a dog while it is on a chain. They also require that a person have visual contact with the dog. The rules also require a two-point restraint or a crate if a dog is being transported in the back of a pickup truck. (Read the draft ordinance in the attached PDF.)
Pasco residents and animal rights activists from all over the Tampa Bay area came out to the Feb. 19 meeting to urge commissioners to approve the tethering rule change.
“I’m encouraged by the excellent tethering section,” Marilyn Weaver, the executive director of the League of Humane Voters and the Feral Cat Coalition of Tampa Bay told commissioners.
New Port Richey Animal Protection Unit volunteer Beth Robbins also encouraged the passage of the tethering rules.
“Chained dogs are almost three times more likely to bite,” she told commissioners. “Research demonstrates the act of being continuously chained causes aggression. Please enact an effective and enforceable ordinance.”
Weaver and others, however, were concerned about a portion of the proposed law that would continue to allow sales of animals at flea markets.
“Many of the puppy mill-related ordinances ban the sale of pets in public places,” she said. “Pasco County should follow suit. Allowing flea market sales is a backward step.”
In the end, commissioners agreed to explore the flea market issue in greater depth. They approved the ordinance amendments – with the tougher tethering rules, but removed the portion about flea market sales to take up at a later meeting.
Commissioner Jack Mariano was the only one to vote against the changes.
The new rules take effect April 1. It is unclear when the commission will address flea market sales of pets.