Broward Commissioners have approved new regulations governing aggressive dogs.
The board agreed to fund three additional animal care specialists in the 2014 budget to help areas with the highest number of dog intakes. The regulations aim to provide resources, education, training programs and protocols to reduce aggressive dog incidents throughout Broward County.
The county attorney will draft regulations requiring the use of revenue coming from animal registration tags and vaccinations to be used to fund low-cost sterilization programs. It is estimated that an increase of 25,000 pet registrations per year would yield a revenue flow of $500,000, assuming that tags are sold at $20 apiece, according to the county.
"We have an estimated 800,000 dogs in Broward County which are not registered and vaccinated. Revenue generated from enforcing registration and vaccination will pay for a number of animal care programs and enforcement without the need for increasing taxes," said Vice Mayor Sharief. "These proposals may not cover everything, but they are a start."
Commissioners also asked the county attorney to draft an amended ordinance that will establish regulations for commercial and hobby breeders requiring a breeder's license, limitation of the numbers of litters per breeder and require vaccinations, micro-chipping and maintenance of veterinarian records.
The new rules will require maximum penalties when prosecuting animal cruelty cases and developing programs aimed at reducing the number of animal abuse cases.
Commissioners agreed to ask the Broward County Sheriff to consider providing training for deputies who are often called to assist when a dog has bitten someone or situations where animal control is required.
The new ordinances, one drafted, will be reviewed by the commission and set for a public hearing at a future date.
Commissioners have also approved an ordinance that prohibits teaching an animal to fight and other activities relating to the fighting of animals. Violation of the dog fighting prohibition comes with a $500 fine per offense.
Fines also increased to $300 for pet owners who fail to register and provide rabies vaccinations for their pet. Pet owners will be given a 30-day warning for their first offense, allowing them to comply with the requirements before being fined.
Broward County provides a number of low-cost vaccinations and spay/neuter programs that can be found at broward.org/animal.