TAVARES — On April 10, 2012, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners adopted a new ordinance with greater restrictions for animal tethering in the County. The new ordinance prohibits tethering of pets that are not within visual range of the pet owner, as well as tethering of pets under circumstances that the health, safety or well-being of the pet is in jeopardy.
“Dogs that are tethered can become entangled in the ropes and chains used in tethering,” said Marjorie Boyd, Lake County’s Animal Services Division Manager. “Even friendly dogs that are left alone for long periods of time can become anxious or aggressive, and by being left outside, can pose a health risk to themselves and others who might approach them.”
From the adoption date of the ordinance through Nov. 1, County officials have been working to educate pet owners about the new prohibition on tethering and to assist in providing alternatives.
Beginning on Thursday, Nov. 1, Animal Control Officers will start issuing warnings and citations for those found to be violating the ordinance.
The first complaint received will result in the pet owner being issued a written warning, or Notice of Code. If the owner is found to not come into compliance after the written warning is issued, or if the owner receives a second complaint at a later date, the owner may receive citation, or Notice of Hearing.
Penalties for violating the ordinance may include fines of $150 for the first written warning, and $500 for any repeat violations within a five year period. If an animal is injured due to tethering, and veterinary care is required, the recommended penalty is $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any repeat violations within a five year period. If severe injury or death of the animal results, the penalty is $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for any repeat violations within five years of the previous offense.
For more information about the new ordinance, or for questions about alternatives to tethering an animal, contact the Lake County Animal Services Division at 352-343-9688.