Pets will not be allowed to be left tethered alone outside for more than 30 minutes, if the ordinance passes.
The city of Ormond Beach is in the process of reinforcing its animal cruelty laws by updating its regulations on tethering, with a second reading of the ordinance coming to the City Commission for approval at its April 16 meeting.
The updated ordinance states that no animal should be tethered and left alone for more than 30 minutes a day, as well as prohibiting the act between dusk and dawn. Animals owners will also be prevented from tethering pets in extreme weather — defined as any temperatures above 85 degrees and below 50 degrees. The ordinance also prohibits people from leaving animals tethered on their own when leaving their homes, and states animals cannot be tethered on abandoned, dilapidated or unsafe properties or structures.
City Commissioner Susan Persis said she is excited the ordinance is finally coming to fruition, as she brought the issue to the commission while she was running for office following the enactment of Ponce's Law. It's important to protect animals, Persis said.
Persis asked at the April 2 commission meeting to add to the ordinance language stating tethering in public spaces is illegal. If you're at a park, she believes owners should have their dogs on leashes and be able to closely control and monitor them.
Tethering animals excludes them from interacting with their owners, something she said could cause an animal to become aggressive.
“I just think it’s really cruel," Persis said.
But how can the city enforce this ordinance?
Jo Ann Owens, lead community service officer for the Ormond Beach Police Department, said the first thing that needs to be done is inform the public that the tethering laws are being updated. Then, it's all about education.
“It just sends a message to people out there that we are not going to stand for any kind of animal abuse, cruelty or neglect."
Susan Persis, City Commissioner Zone 3
Owens said that the Police Department knows of a few homes already that are known to leave their dogs outside. The steps officers would take to enforce the ordinance would be to let the pet owners know they're in violation. If they do not remedy the situation, the owners would be issued a notice of violation, which Owens said is a warning with a grace period allowing people time to rectify the issue. If it's not resolved, police will write a citation. Based on the city's code, animal cruelty citations could face a $200 fine for first offenses.
"We’re very proactive here," Owens said. "We work with people constantly.”
The updated tethering ordinance is meant to protect the animals and look out for their safety, she explained.
“Things happen," Owens said. "Dogs get tangled in the craziest places.”
Persis said people can also call in the tethering violations to police. Other cities have been updating their animals ordinances recently, and Persis said putting a regulation like this in place shows that people in Volusia value their pets.
“It just sends a message to people out there that we are not going to stand for any kind of animal abuse, cruelty or neglect," Persis said.