Commonly-Cited Animal Ordinances

Animal-at-Large Ordinance

Animal-at-Large Ordinance – Article II Sec. 6-28: “No dog or cat shall be allowed to stray, run or go, at large upon any public property or street, sidewalk, park, or on the private property of another without the consent of the property owner.”

What it means: A pet can’t be off its own 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.

Failure to License/Vaccinate

Dog, Cat, and Ferret Vaccination Ordinance – Article II Sec. 6-21: “All dogs, cats, and ferrets that are four months of age or older must be vaccinated for rabies in accordance with F.S. Section 828.30, as may be amended and owned dogs, cats, and ferrets shall be vaccinated annually for rabies.”

What it means: 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 Registration and License Ordinances – Article II Sec. 6-22: “All dogs, cats, and ferrets that are four months of age or older must be registered with the Department. The length of time that such registration will remain valid shall be based upon the type of license purchased, but shall not exceed the expiration of the animal's rabies vaccination. 

What it means: 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.

Failure to Provide Proper Care

Humane Treatment of Animals Ordinance – Article II Sec. 6-25: “Any person owning, caring for, harboring, or keeping an animal must treat the animal humanely at all times. Any animal that is confined must be provided appropriate care, sufficient quantities of good and wholesome food and water on a daily basis, kept in sanitary conditions, provided with sufficient room to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably, proper air ventilation and quality of air, and protection from the elements and from excessive exposure to fleas, ticks, other harmful insects or external parasites.”

What it means: All pets are required to have access to shade, a shelter for bad weather, complete access to clean water and healthy food, and being provided 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.

Vicious Animals and Aggressive Dog

Vicious Animals and Aggressive Dogs Ordinance – Article II Sec. 6-27: “No person shall allow a companion animal, when unprovoked, to bite, attack, endanger, or inflict injury on a human, domestic animal, or livestock while on public or private property; or chase or approach an individual upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack. Violations of this section may constitute proof of "prior knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities" under F.S. § 767.13(2), as may be amended.”

What it means: Dogs are not allowed to approach or chase a person/pet making 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.

Leash Ordinance

Leash Ordinance – Ch. 38 Article II Sec. 38-26: “All domestic animals must, unless otherwise posted, be restrained at all times at a distance of not greater than six feet in length from their owner/handler and must be under the immediate and continuous physical control of such animal's owner/handler by means of a leash, cord, chain, cage, fence or other appropriate restraining device that is of sufficient strength to restrain/contain the animal.”

What it means: Any pet when off its own property or in a public place, like a neighborhood sidewalk, farmers market, or outdoor café, it 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.