By Collin Breaux
The Washington County Board of County Commissioners is considering an animal control ordinance amendment that would institute additional requirements for keeping a dog after the animal has been considered “dangerous.”
The board heard a presentation on the proposed amendment from Public Safety Director Lynne Abel during a workshop on Monday, Sept. 18.
The potential change would also eliminate the use of a “dangerous” dog board and instead use a special master for an appeal hearing.
While Florida state law provides definitions and guidance for dealing with dangerous dogs, it does not limit a local government from adopting an ordinance “placing further restrictions” on owners of dogs that have bitten or attacked people or other animals, Abel said.
“The statute also provides leeway for counties to decide how to conduct the owner appeal process if requested,” Abel said.
Revisions under the proposed amendment include an animal control officer making an initial written determination if a dog should be deemed “dangerous” and then impounding the dog, the dog owner having to confine the dog within fences “that are sufficient,” and euthanization if the dog escapes.
A motion to advertise the changes for notice will be on the agenda for the board’s next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 21.
The ordinance, thus, won’t be able to be adopted until next month.