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 [email protected] 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. County looks to regulate dog trainers and ban 'helicoptering'


    TAMPA — More than 20 people spoke in favor of a proposed ordinance that would require dog trainers and dog day cares to be licensed during a Hillsborough County Commission's meeting Wednesday.

    Sarge, a Shih Tzu-Pekinese mix, died in the arms of owner Lorie Childers after attending a training program in 2015. Childers now wants local and state legislation to regulate animal trainers and punish ones that harm dogs in their care. [Courtesy of Lorie Childers]
  2. Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn't follow through


    President Donald Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.

    President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting  with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at the White House in Washington, D.C. [Pool photo by Chris Kleponis | Getty Images]
  3. State House leader Corcoran urges Congress to back Trump tax cuts


    TAMPA — At a time when President Donald Trump's relations with Congress grow frayed, state House Speaker Richard Corcoran lined up solidly with Trump Tuesday in urging Congress members from Florida to back the president's tax-cutting legislation.

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran backs the supply-side economic theory that cutting federal taxes for business owners would result in more jobs for others. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa's first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    Tampa's Oaklawn and neighboring St. Louis cemeteries just north of downtown have been added to the National Register of  Historic Places. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  5. Romano: Love to hear your Nazi speech, but I'm washing my hair

    Human Interest

    A year ago, he was racism's favorite twerp.

    Richard Spencer, center in sunglasses, and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police after hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clashed with anti-fascist protesters and police in August in Charlottesville, Va. [Getty Images]