Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin passed ordinance for unleashed dogs: $88 ticket

DUNEDIN — Dunedin dog-walkers, the city's got a new law: fetch a leash or pay up.

Any animal found in public without a leash could net its owner an $88 ticket, city commissioners voted Thursday. Leashes can be no longer than 16 feet. Exceptions are the Happy Tails Dog Park and guide pets used by the handicapped.

The unanimously passed ordinance breaks with Pinellas County code, which says dogs can still be under "physical control" if they respond to visual signals or voice commands. Nine residents at City Hall Thursday said that suited them just fine.

"We bought our house in Dunedin specifically because we like to take our dogs off the leash," said Eileen Cullen, whose dogs Jimi and Pup-Pup ran often in Hammock Park. "Most of the people that do let their dogs off the leash in the park, they are very responsible."

The ones who aren't, however, have led to years of complaints and dog scares in public parks. Deputies and parks staff were frustrated, commissioners said, that they had little legal power to police free-running dogs.

The new law does afford animal owners some running room. The once-proposed 6-foot length limit more than doubled to accommodate retractable leashes, and Mayor Dave Eggers asked if the city could ease the law even more with a warning system or cheaper fees.

"I don't want to be balancing the budget on fines," he said.

City Attorney John Hubbard, however, said the $88 was determined by the county court and that a three-strikes system would become an "administrative and law enforcement nightmare."

Some residents said the real headache for deputies would come from unnecessary patrolling.

"Are we really going to waste time and money for policemen to be out there when there's other things to be worrying about," asked Dunedin resident Lisa Rosenow.

"I think we have bigger and better problems to be worrying about than if people have a leash on their dog."

A 6-foot leash law once pitched to the city after a dog died from a fight was deemed unnecessary in 2007, said parks superintendent Art Finn.

Also included in the ordinance: animals aren't allowed on public playgrounds, owners need consent to take animals onto private property, and animal waste needs to be immediately removed.

Drew Harwell can be reached at or (727) 445-4170.

Dunedin passed ordinance for unleashed dogs: $88 ticket 11/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 8:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.