Dangerous dog ordinance changed in Broward
Broward County Commissioners have amended an ordinance that defines and governs dangerous dogs. The newly revised ordinance identifies a dog as “dangerous” after the dog has killed or severely injured a domestic animal more than once. Under the revised ordinance, a dog that kills once is defined as an “aggressive” dog and is subject to regulation. The amended ordinance also provides restitution to the owners of dogs that have been attacked and requires dogs defined as dangerous to undergo an examination by an animal behavioral specialist for assessment.
Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca brought the amended ordinance forward.
“This is a basic, common sense change to a bad law. I am very pleased we were unified on the decision to enact real, common sense solutions for the citizens. Our goal was to promote responsible pet ownership around the county, and I think we got a little closer to that today. This is a perfect example of a good non-partisan issue, one of many that will come before us,” said Commissioner LaMarca.
Broward Commissioner Lois Wexler pushed through the amendment that will label a dog as “aggressive” if it kills another animal once.
“The revised ordinance is a mirror of the state law. But one free kill of an animal doesn’t get me where I want to go. If we define a dog that has killed another animal once as aggressive, it will get the owner’s attention,” said Commissioner Wexler.
In order to qualify as either an aggressive or dangerous dog, the attack in question must have occurred off the owner’s property and be unprovoked.
Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs proposed further changing the ordinance to include restitution “to pay the victim’s documented, reasonable veterinary expenses and disposal costs if applicable.” The restitution must be made within fifteen days after documentation is presented.
“We have to be responsible to the victims of these attacks. They often have no recourse,” said Jacobs.
Dogs can also be euthanized under the current ordinance if they had previously been declared as dangerous and then attack or bite a person or domestic animal without provocation. Any dog that attacks and causes severe injury to or death to a human being is also subject to being euthanized. Dog owners are permitted to request a hearing to challenge those actions.
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