Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas commission moves forward with new animal rules

Veterinarian Dr. Gayle Burrell of New Port Richey, front, spays a female cat at Pinellas County Animal Services, Largo. Burrell operated on 20 animals during the day.

SCOTT KEELER | Times (2012)

Veterinarian Dr. Gayle Burrell of New Port Richey, front, spays a female cat at Pinellas County Animal Services, Largo. Burrell operated on 20 animals during the day.

CLEARWATER — Pinellas commissioners agreed Tuesday to relax county rules on stray animals to clear the way for a pilot program aimed at reducing the feral cat population.

Commissioners nixed a proposal to pass a spay-neuter law requiring all pet owners to sterilize their dogs and cats. Instead commissioners said they'd take the first steps to a mandatory system — charging more for licenses for unsterilized animals and mandating sterilization at the owner's expense of animals found wandering loose for the second, or subsequent, time.

It is unclear when the new rules will take effect. County staff will have to draft them and bring them to the commission for approval.

The new direction for the way Pinellas deals with dog and cat overpopulation came at the end of a four-hour workshop that gave commissioners a chance to hear of the problems faced by the $4-million Animal Services department. In the first six months of this year, Animal Services took in 2,455 dogs and 3,927 cats. Of those, 563 dogs and 231 cats were adopted out of the shelter; 808 dogs and 2,403 cats were euthanized.

While some animal activists said the only solution was a mandatory spay-neuter law, others focused on the county's feral cat population. One solution, they say, is a trap, neuter, vaccinate and release program. They say that prevents breeding and disease and will humanely reduce the population.

One group in particular, calling itself Meow Now, said it wanted to try a one-year pilot program. While TNVR works elsewhere, they said, it's unclear if there will be enough volunteers in Pinellas. The group is spearheaded by former Seminole City Council member Dan Hester, the Humane Society of Pinellas, SPCA Tampa Bay and other animal activists. The seed money for Meow Now will come from the group's founders, Hester said.

But the problem is that county rules forbid many TNVR activities, including one that bans cats and dogs from running at large and another that prohibits feeding that attracts cats and wildlife.

Hester said people will not contribute time nor money to an organization that is, essentially, breaking the law. Commissioners agreed they need to relax the rules, at least temporarily, to let Meow Now have a chance.

"To me, this seems like a reasonable path forward," Commissioner Ken Welch said.

Pinellas commission moves forward with new animal rules 09/10/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent

    Crime

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)