Animal Tethering Policy
On Sept. 23, 2020, the City Commission adopted an ordinance amending the city's animal control policy by prohibiting the tethering of dogs or cats to stationary objects except when specific conditions for humane tethering are met. The ordinance best ensures the general health, safety and welfare of the community.
The Dangers of Tethering
- Improper and unsafe tethering may place animals in harm's way, including the risk of injury or death and constitutes a form of abuse.
- Tethered animals may show increased aggressiveness and pose a danger to the public.
- They are susceptible to overheating in extreme weather and can suffer from high-exposure risk to disease-carrying insects.
Enforced by the city's Animal Control division, a violation of this rule is a civil infraction, with the maximum penalty including a fine no more than $500.
Call (386) 671-5455 or fill out this form to report an animal tethering violation. Reporting parties may remain anonymous.
No person shall tether a dog or a cat to a stationary object while outdoors, except as permitted in subsection (b) below.
(b) An exception to the tethering prohibition is permitted if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The dog or cat is in visible range of the owner or responsible party, which person must also be outside with the dog or cat at all times. There is an authorized narrow exception to this sub-condition: The dog or cat owner, or responsible person, may leave a dog or cat tethered outdoors on the property for a reasonable period not to exceed 30 minutes while such owner or responsible person performs temporary tasks indoors or on another section of the property. The owner or responsible person shall not leave a dog or cat tethered outdoors on unoccupied, vacant, or abandoned property.
(2) The tether is connected with a swivel hook to the dog or cat's buckletype collar or a body harness made of nylon or leather that is of sufficient size to adequately and safely restrain the dog or cat.
(3) The tether is of a size and weight that is reasonably necessary to safely restrain the dog or cat without placing excessive strain or weight on the dog or cat. The weight of the tether should not exceed one-tenth of the dog or cat's weight.
The length of the tether should be at least the greater of either five times the length of the animal measured from the nose to the tip of its tail, or ten feet. The trolley cable should not be elevated more than seven feet above the surface.
(4) The dog or cat is not tethered outside in periods of extreme weather, including but not limited to extreme heat (in excess of 90 degrees) or cold (lower than 50 degrees), thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, tropical storms, or hurricanes.
(5) The dog or cat has access to adequate water, shelter, food, and dry ground.
(6) The tether must be secured in such a way that it cannot become entangled with other objects and deprive the dog or cat of water, shelter, food, or dry ground.
(7) The dog or cat is at least six months of age.
(8) The dog or cat is not sick or injured.
(9) If there are multiple dogs and/or cats, each animal must be tethered separately.
(10) There shall be no tethering of any dog or cat from dusk until dawn.