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Are You Breaking the Rules?

Learn about the most commonly cited pet-related ordinances in Hillsborough County

Do you know that all dogs and cats in Hillsborough County are supposed to be vaccinated against rabies and be registered with the County? Or that it is against the law to keep your dog tied up outside without supervision? There are many laws in place to protect not only the residents of Hillsborough County but also its pets.

Here are a few pet-related ordinances you need to know about.

Dog Tethering Ordinance
By law, the unattended tethering of dogs is banned in Hillsborough County. Tethering is not allowed unless the owner of the dog remains outside with the dog while it is tethered, keeps the dog within sight while tethered, and the tether is of a size and weight that is necessary to safely restrain the dog and is connected to a buckle-type collar or body harness made of nylon or leather. If cited for a failure to properly confine, the fines are at least $370 and up to $1,000 for multiple violations.

Confinement to Property; Tethering Ordinance - Article II Sec. 6-33

Failure to License/Vaccinate
All pets that are older than four months need to be up to date with their rabies vaccinations, either every year or every three years depending on the vaccine. Follow up with your vet and make sure your vaccinations are up to date. If cited for a failure to vaccinate, the fines are at least $100 and up to $500 for multiple violations.

Dog, Cat, and Ferret Vaccination Ordinance - Article II Sec. 6-21

All pets that are older than four months need to have a registration tag that is renewed regularly, either every year or every three years depending on your rabies vaccine. Proof of a rabies vaccination, either one or three year version, is required in order to get a tag for your pet. Tags can be purchased through Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center or with your veterinarian. If cited for a failure to license, the fines are at least $100 and up to $500 for multiple violations.

Dog, Cat, and Ferret Registration and License Ordinances - Article II Sec. 6-22

Leash Ordinance
Any pet that is off its owner's property or in a public place, like a neighborhood sidewalk, farmers market, or outdoor café, must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and its owner must have control at all times. If cited, the fines are at least $100 and up to $500 for multiple violations.

Leash Ordinance - Ch. 38 Article II Sec. 38-26

Animal-at-Large Ordinance
A pet can't be off its owner's property running freely. If off its property, a pet should always be on a leash no longer than 6 feet and under control by its owner. If cited for an animal-at-large, the fines are at least $100 and up to $500 for multiple violations.

Animal-at-Large Ordinance - Article II Sec. 6-28

Failure to Provide Proper Care
All pets are required to have access to shade, a shelter for bad weather, complete access to clean water and healthy food, and necessary medical care. If cited for a failure to provide essentials or proper care, the fines are at least $100 and up to $500 for multiple violations.

Humane Treatment of Animals Ordinance - Article II Sec. 6-25

Vicious Animals and Aggressive Dogs
Dogs are not allowed to approach or chase a person/pet in a way that makes them fear they will be bitten. Dogs are not allowed to bite or attack a person or pet unprovoked. If cited for vicious animal or aggressive dog, the fines start at $450.

Vicious Animals and Aggressive Dogs Ordinance - Article II Sec. 6-27

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