Volusia County adopts animal anti-tethering law

Volusia County’s animal control ordinance hasn’t been updated in decades and a lot of things have changed when it comes to protecting animals. “It really does improve the standard of care that pets get,” said Adam Leath, director of Volusia County Animal Services. Effective immediately, Leath said pets can no longer be chronically chained. Anti-tether now applies in unincorporated areas. “Dogs that are chained in a confined space become very agitated quickly. They can deteriorate behaviorally,” Leath said. Owners are now obligated to provide pets with adequate food, shelter and vet care. The amended ordinance allows for fines when those needs aren’t met but the laws are meant to raise awareness, not penalize. So for example, county Animal Services can provide a dog house if someone is in need. “If they have a serious medical issue that’s affecting their pets, we will evaluate and potentially treat those pets for free,” Leath said. The revisions address nuisance animals and dangerous dogs, and prohibits the sale of dogs and cats in retail stores, in part to shed light on the growing number of available animals in shelters. “We do that by limiting the sale of dogs and cats in retail establishments and really promoting adoption as the better option,” Leath said. There are also new prohibitions or limits on ear cropping, tail docking and declawing cats. Officials say they are able to adopt this revised ordinance without any changes to staffing or budget, though some funds could be re-allocated. . Late last month in New Smyrna Beach, four dogs died after being left in a hot car for an hour.

Volusia County’s animal control ordinance hasn’t been updated in decades and a lot of things have changed when it comes to protecting animals.

County leaders voted unanimously to pass the amended code of ordinances regarding animals, primarily dogs and cats.

“It really does improve the standard of care that pets get,” said Adam Leath, director of Volusia County Animal Services.

Effective immediately, Leath said pets can no longer be chronically chained. Anti-tether now applies in unincorporated areas.

“Dogs that are chained in a confined space become very agitated quickly. They can deteriorate behaviorally,” Leath said.

Owners are now obligated to provide pets with adequate food, shelter and vet care. The amended ordinance allows for fines when those needs aren’t met but the laws are meant to raise awareness, not penalize. So for example, county Animal Services can provide a dog house if someone is in need.

“If they have a serious medical issue that’s affecting their pets, we will evaluate and potentially treat those pets for free,” Leath said.

The revisions address nuisance animals and dangerous dogs, and prohibits the sale of dogs and cats in retail stores, in part to shed light on the growing number of available animals in shelters.

“We do that by limiting the sale of dogs and cats in retail establishments and really promoting adoption as the better option,” Leath said.

There are also new prohibitions or limits on ear cropping, tail docking and declawing cats.

Officials say they are able to adopt this revised ordinance without any changes to staffing or budget, though some funds could be re-allocated.

The changes to the county’s animal codes also include a law that prohibits leaving animals unattended in cars without adequate water and ventilation.

Late last month in New Smyrna Beach, four dogs died after being left in a hot car for an hour.

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