Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole poised to join movement to untether dogs

SEMINOLE — This city could become the first in Pinellas to pass rules against tethering dogs.

Violators could be subject to hefty fines and possible criminal charges if they continued to tie up a dog after being warned not to do so. The ordinance is scheduled to come before the City Council for preliminary approval at Tuesday's meeting. Final approval could come later this month.

The proposal is the brainchild of council member Dan Hester, a former board member of the SPCA of Tampa Bay. He was influenced in part after seeing a home just outside the city limits where five dogs are tied to trees 24 hours a day, he said. Hester said he does not know of another Pinellas government that has such a rule.

Hester's idea found instant approval with most council members.

"It's a no-brainer. Let's do it," John Counts said.

Leslie Waters said, "I was horrified this hasn't been done before."

Other council members wondered if the proposal should include other animals, like cats.

"Household cats aren't the problem. Horses aren't the problem. Livestock isn't the problem," said Mark Ely, head of the city's community development department. The vast majority of problems concern dogs, and that's why it's limited to them.

Ely said the ordinance would apply to all canines, regardless of whether they are regarded as pets or working dogs. And, he said, the ordinance is clear and easy for code officers in determining whether there is a violation.

"If I see a dog tethered outside, and there's not a human there, you're in violation," Ely said. "It's that simple."

Council member Patricia Plantamura said she's not so sure the proposal is a good idea.

"I grew up on a farm. I love animals. I see the utilitarian purposes. I see why someone would have a dog outside their house as a security measure on a running line and that kind of stuff," Plantamura said.

Not everyone has a fenced yard, she said, and the ordinance would force people to keep their dogs inside.

"The farm girl in me is really coming out," she said. "I don't mean to be contrary here. But that's going to be part of the way I vote, this minority vote on the council. And please excuse me for that. Your compassion for the protection of animals is laudable. I agree with protecting animals as well, but I see this quite differently."

Anti-tethering ordinances are becoming more common, said Adam Goldfarb, director of the animals-at-risk program with the Humane Society of the United States. Not only are local governments passing them, so are county and state governments, he said. More than a hundred similar ordinances or laws have been adopted in 30 states during the past few years. Other bills are pending elsewhere, he said.

The push for such rules is based on human and humane reasons, Goldfarb said. The human safety factor comes into play because research has found that dogs that are regularly tethered are more likely to bite than those that aren't. And dogs are social, pack animals. Isolation is cruel and unnatural to them, he said.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at (727) 893-8450 or

fast facts

The proposed rules

The Seminole City Council plans to consider passing an ordinance prohibiting dogs from being tied up unless 13 conditions are met, chief among them that the person responsible is outside and in sight of the dog.

• First-time violators would receive a warning giving them 30 days to remedy the situation.

• Second offenses would carry a $100 fine and a 15-day period to correct the situation.

• Third offenses would carry a $500 fine.

• Fourth and subsequent offenses would carry a $500 fine and one count of animal cruelty, which could mean an additional $500 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days.

Half of the amount collected for civil penalties would be given to Pinellas County Animal Services.

Source: City of Seminole

Seminole poised to join movement to untether dogs 12/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 1:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game


    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    ’NOLE POWER: FSU’s Dylan Busby, right, is congratulated by teammate Taylor Walls after Busby’s homer against Duke.
  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Christian to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a perfect 30-0 …

    Matheu Nelson of Calvary Christian celebrates scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning.
  4. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)


    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]
  5. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”