Hillsborough County, Florida

January 19, 2012

Sec. 6-33. Confinement to property; tethering.

Pet owners, harborers, and keepers must use reasonable judgment and take reasonable steps to ensure the health and wellness of their pets in order to comply with this ordinance. This includes the following:

A) It is unlawful and a violation of this ordinance for any person to tether a dog, except when:

  1. The dog is in visual range of the owner, harborer or keeper who must also be physically present with the dog and attending to it while it is tethered; and
  2. The tether is connected to the dog by a commercially available buckle-type collar or a body harness made of nylon or leather that is of sufficient size to adequately and safely restrain the dog; and
  3. The tether is of a size and weight that is reasonably necessary to safely restrain the dog without placing excessive strain or weight on the dog; and
  4. The dog is not tethered outside in periods of extreme weather, including but not limited to, extreme heat or cold, thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, tropical storms or hurricanes.

B) Exceptions: provided that a dog is tethered in a manner and under conditions that do not jeopardize its health, safety, or well being, Section (A) above, shall not apply to a dog that is:

  1. 1) In attendance at, or participating in, any legal, organized publicly attended event in which both dog and owner are permitted attendees or participants;
  2. Actively engaging in conduct that is directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock or related to the business of cultivating agricultural products, as long as the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog;
  3. Tethered, chained, tied, or restrained by a veterinarian or groomer while attending to the dog;
  4. Trained, or being trained, to act in a law enforcement capacity;
  5. Being lawfully used to actively hunt a species of wildlife in this state, during the hunting season, for that species of wildlife;
  6. Tethered temporarily while being kept in a bonafide humane shelter approved by the Department or at a commercial boarding facility;
  7. Tethered in accordance with the regulations of a camping or recreational area;
  8. Being cared for as part of a rescue operation during a natural or man-made disaster; or
  9. Being transported in a vehicle.

C) A dog that is sick or injured cannot be tethered as a means of confinement by the owner, harborer or keeper.
D) A puppy under the age of six (6) months old may only be tethered, if attended to at all times by the owner, harborer or keeper, during the entire time the puppy is tethered.
E) In no case shall a dog be tethered outside if the owner, has been issued a “Letter of Dangerous Propensity” for that dog by the Department, or if the dog has been declared dangerous in accordance with Florida States Chapter 767, or if the person responsible for the dog has knowledge of the dog’s prior aggressiveness, unless the tethered dog is in a fenced enclosure that will prevent the public or domestic animals from coming into contact with the tethered dog.
F) A grace period of at least 180 days shall be granted before enforcement of this Ordinance shall commence. During this time, the focus will be on responsible pet owner education. Enforcement through the issuance of citations shall commence on August 15, 2012.

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