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Ordinance 05-47 
 
 AN ORDINANCE CREATING THE POLK COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL AND ANIMAL SERVICES ORDINANCE; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING A PROCESS FOR MUNICIPALITIES TO ADOPT THIS ORDINANCE; SETTING THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH DOGS AND CATS ARE TO BE VACCINATED AND TAGGED; REQUIRING VACCINATION, STERILIZATION, AND MICROCHIPPING OF ANIMALS PRIOR TO LEAVING THE SHELTER OR WITHIN THREE DAYS OF LEAVING IN CERTAIN INSTANCES; REDUCING THE LICENSE TAG FEE FOR ANIMALS STERILIZED PRIOR TO BEING RELEASED FROM THE SHELTER; ALLOWING THE IMPOUNDING AND BOARDING FEES TO BE REDUCED BY 50% FOR ANIMALS STERILIZED PRIOR TO BEING RELEASED FROM THE SHELTER; SETTING FEES FOR ANIMAL SERVICES; ALLOWING THE SHERIFF TO SET SUBSEQUENT FEES BY RESOLUTION; PROHIBITING ANIMALS RUNNING AT LARGE; PROHIBITING THE FALSE IDENTIFICATION OF UNALTERED ANIMALS AS ALTERED; PROHIBITING THE ABANDONMENT OF ANIMALS; PROVIDING HOLDING PERIODS FOR UNCLAIMED AND QUARANTINED ANIMALS; AUTHORIZING THE IMPOUNDING OF ANIMALS RUNNING AT LARGE; PROHIBITING DOGS AND CATS FROM CREATING A NUISANCE; PROTECTING THE PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY BY SEIZING SICK OR INJURED ANIMALS; ALLOWING A RESIDENT TO HUMANELY CAPTURE AT-LARGE ANIMALS ON HIS/HER PROPERTY; CLASSIFICATION OF DOGS AS DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS; ALLOWING THE CONFISCATION AND DESTRUCTION OF DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS DOGS THAT ATTACK OR BITE; PROVIDING AN EXEMPTION TO THE QUARANTINE REQUIREMENT; PROVIDING PROCEDURES FOR DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS DOG HEARINGS; PROVIDING PROCEDURES FOR APPEALING THE DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS DOG CLASSIFICATION;  ALLOWING OFFENDERS TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ANIMAL CONTROL PET OWNER EDUCATION COURSE IN LIEU OF PAYING A FINE IN CERTAIN CASES; ALLOWING THE ANIMAL CONTROL LIEUTENANT DISCRETION TO REDUCE ADOPTION FEES FOR CERTAIN ANIMALS TO ENABLE ADOPTION OF THE ANIMAL; STATING THE DUTIES AND AUTHORITY OF OFFICERS; PROVIDING THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO INTERFERE WITH AN OFFICER WHILE IN LEGAL PERFORMANCE OF HIS/HER DUTIES; PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION OF THIS ORDINANCE; PROVIDING THAT THE PENALTIES MAY BE CHANGED BY A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD; STATING THE FORM OF CITATION AND NOTICE; PROVIDING A PROCEDURE FOR PEOPLE CITED FOR VIOLATION OF THE ANIMAL CONTROL AND ANIMAL SERVICES ORDINANCE; STATING THAT THE CITATION CONSTITUTES A WARNING TO THE HOUSEHOLD; PROVIDING FOR THE REPEAL OF POLK COUNTY ORDINANCES 04-16; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

             BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA:

SECTION 1SHORT TITLE

This article shall be known and may be cited as the Polk County Animal Control and Animal Services Ordinance.

SECTION 2: DEFINITIONS

In construing this Ordinance, the singular shall include the plural and the masculine shall include the feminine.

Altered animal or sterilized animal shall mean an animal that has been rendered permanently incapable of reproduction (i.e. spayed or neutered).

Animal, for purposes of this ordinance, shall mean any living dumb creature that is a member of the mammalian, avian, reptilian or amphibian species, or other animal not covered in Chapter 588, Florida Statutes, or  the Florida Wildlife Commission.

Animal control officer, shall mean any person employed by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for animal control purposes or appointed by a county or municipality who is authorized to investigate, on public or private property, civil infractions relating to animal control or cruelty and to issue citations as provided in this section.  An animal control officer is not authorized to bear arms or make arrests; however, such officer may carry a device to chemically subdue and tranquilize an animal, provided that such officer has successfully completed a minimum of 16 hours of training in marksmanship, equipment handling, safety and animal care, and can demonstrate proficiency in chemical immobilization of animals in accordance with guidelines prescribed in the Chemical Immobilization Operational Guide of the American Humane Association.

Animal control authority shall mean an entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units and authorized by them to enforce the animal control laws of the city, county, or state.

Animal Control Lieutenant shall mean that person in charge of the administration of Animal Control.

 At large shall mean off the premises of the owner or custodian, and not under the direct control, custody, charge, or possession of the owner or other custodian.

Cat shall mean the domestic cat, felis catus.

County shall mean Polk County, Florida.

County commissioners, board or board of county commissioners shall mean the Board of County Commissioners of Polk County, Florida.

Dangerous dogs shall be defined in accordance with Section 767.11, Florida Statutes.

Direct control shall mean immediate and continuous physical control of an animal at all times such as by means of a fence, leash, cord or chain of sufficient strength to restrain the same; or in the case of specifically trained or hunting animals which immediately respond to such commands, direct control shall also include aural or oral control, if the controlling person is at all times clearly and fully within the unobstructed sight and hearing of the animal.

Dog shall mean, but is expressly not limited to, domestic dog, canis familiaris, and any genetic hybridization thereof, including but not limited to wolf hybrids and coyote hybrids that are not regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Hearing Officer is an attorney, retired judge, certified mediator, or certified legal intern appointed by Resolution of the Board of County Commissioners to serve as an impartial mediator for a term of one year; they may be re-appointed at the end of each term.  An appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of office.  Hearing officers shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for such travel, mileage, and per diem expenses as may be authorized by the Board of County Commissioners, or as otherwise provided by law.

Officer, when used alone, shall have the same meaning as provided under Section 828.27, Florida Statutes:  Any law enforcement officer defined in Section 943.10, Florida Statutes, or any animal control officers.

Offense shall mean any violation of this ordinance.

Overcrowding of the animal control facility shall be defined as more than one dog per thirty-two (32) square feet of dog kennel area actually used for living or more than one cat or puppy per four (4) square feet of living space.

Owner, custodian shall mean any person, firm, corporation, partnership, trust, estate, business, or other legal entity, harboring keeping or having control or custody of an animal, temporarily or permanently, who feeds harbors, or maintains, or knowingly permits an animal un-owned to remain on any premise in his or her control for a period of three days or more. In the case the owner is under 18 years of age, that person’s parent or legal guardian will be responsible.

Polk  County Sheriff’s Office animal control shall be defined as the administrative and governing body tasked with animal control and animal services for Polk County.

Valid license tag shall mean a current, Polk County-issued license tag that is approved by Animal Control. Each tag issued will be valid for a period of time that is determined by the type of license tag issued, either single or multi year.  The validity of such license tag shall not exceed the validity of the vaccine issued to the animal.

Veterinarian shall mean a veterinarian, duly licensed and registered by the State of Florida.

SECTION 3: SCOPE

This article shall apply in all unincorporated areas of Polk County, and within the incorporated  limits of each Polk County municipality, the governing body of which shall certify to the board of county commissioners that:

  • (a)  The municipality has no charter provision or ordinance which is in conflict with this ordinance; and
  • (b)  The municipality desires to be subject to the provisions of the Polk County Animal Control and Animal Services Ordinance.
  • SECTION 4: VACCINATION AND TAGS

    (a)  Every owner of a dog or cat four (4) months of age and over shall cause such dog or cat to be vaccinated against rabies as frequently as required based on the effective period and the method of administration of the approved vaccine used.  The approved vaccine may be for either a one (1) year or three (3) year period, depending on the vaccine used.  The vaccination will be properly administered and boosted where appropriate by a licensed veterinarian.

    (b)  Every owner of each dog or cat so vaccinated is required to purchase a valid license                              tag, as evidence of vaccination, and shall cause the dog or cat to wear a valid license tag at  all times.  License tags shall be valid for a maximum   of 12 months, or until   the expiration   date of the vaccine, which ever is shorter. In the event a multi-year license tag is used the tag shall be valid for a maximum of three years or until the expiration of the vaccine, which ever is shorter.

    (c)  Cat owners may purchase cat identification collars approved by the County and allow their cat to wear said collars in lieu of tags.  All identification collars must be marked in indelible black ink with the number of the cat’s license tag.  The price of the approved collars shall be set by resolution of the board of county commissioners.

    (d)  Evidence of vaccination shall consist of an appropriate certificate signed by  the licensed veterinarian  administering  the  vaccine  and   will  contain  pertinent   data  for identification  of  the specific  dog or cat.   The Veterinarian shall provide one copy of the   certificate to the  owner, one shall be filed with  Animal  Control  monthly,  and  one  shall  be retained by   the   licensed   veterinarian, as  described  in   paragraph (a)  above, administering the vaccine.

    (e)  Proof of altered status  for all  animals for  purposes of  this  Ordinance  shall  consist of  a  sterilization  certificate  issued  by  a licensed   veterinarian,  given  to  the  animal’s owner, stating that the specific animal has  been sterilized.  The certificate must contain data identifying  the  specific animal  including the name,  type, age, sex, color, and breed of  the animal;  the  name  and  address of  the  owner;   the  veterinarian  that  altered  the animal  and  his  or her  address  and phone  number.   A rabies  vaccination certificate, as certified  by  an  appropriately  licensed  veterinarian, in  which the  licensed  veterinarian certifies   that  an  animal  has  been  spayed  or neutered,  shall  also  constitute proof  of  sterilization.

    (f)  The license  tag   shall be  furnished   by   the Polk  County  Sheriff’s  Office  Animal

    Control to  the  pet owner,  upon  presentation  of  evidence of  the  animal’s current  vaccination,  or may be distributed  directly to those  designated  as qualified  to  administer  rabies  vaccinations to  dogs  or cats.  A license  tag  shall  be purchased  for  each dog  or  cat each year, or in the event a multi-year license is used, at the expiration of the previous license tag.

    (g)  A genetic hybrid of dog not regulated  by the Florida Fish  and Wildlife Conservation Commission,    such   as   the   wolf-dog,   is    exempt    from   the    rabies    vaccination requirements   of  this  Section  due  to   the  Florida   Rabies  Control   Compendium not recognizing  a  rabies   vaccination  for   wildlife.   However,   the  owner  must purchase an annual  license tag from Polk County Animal  Control and cause it to be worn by their hybrid  at all times.

    SECTION 5:  VACCINATION OF ANIMALS BEFORE RELEASE FROM ANIMAL CONTROL SHELTER; IMPOUND FEES; ADOPTION

    (a)  All  animals  four (4)  months of  age or  older which  are impounded,  quarantined or otherwise in the possession of  Animal Control, and which do not have proof of a current rabies  vaccination  shall  receive a  rabies  vaccination,  and  license  tag  prior  to  being released  from the custody of Animal Control.   If Animal  Control is  unable to vaccinate the animal for any reason, the owner or custodian of the animal is required to sign a form agreeing to have the  animal vaccinated  by a  licensed veterinarian  within three (3) days from the date of release and subsequently purchase a valid  license tag.

    (b)  An animal  whose owner  is  in  possession of  proof of  a  current  rabies  vaccination approved by National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and administered by a duly licensed veterinarian shall be issued a valid license tag from Animal Control prior to release.  Valid license tags will be good from the date of issuance for a period of 12 months, or for the duration of a multi-year license, depending on the type issued.  In no event will the validity of the license tag exceed the expiration date of the vaccine used to inoculate the animal.

    (c)  If the animal is sterilized at the shelter prior to being released, the owner shall pay the altered animal license tag fee.  Impound and boarding fees will be reduced by 50% of the total fee for those animals sterilized at the shelter prior to being released.

    (d)  Proof of sterilization for all animals shall consist of a sterilization certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian to the animal and its owner stating that the specific animal has been sterilized.  The certificate must contain data identifying the specific animal including the name, type, age, sex, color, and breed of the animal; the name and address of the owner; the name, address, and telephone number of the veterinarian who altered the animal.  A rabies vaccination certificate from a duly licensed veterinarian stating an animal has been spayed or neutered shall also constitute proof of sterilization.  It is the animal owner or custodian's responsibility to provide this information to Animal Control.

    (e)  All animals adopted from Polk County Animal Control will be surgically sterilized and have a microchip installed prior to being released to the prospective adoptive owner.  All applicable fees must be paid prior to release of an animal subject to this section.

    SECTION 6: FEES

    (a)  The fee for the single year license tags shall be ten dollars ($10.00) for altered cats and altered dogs or twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for unaltered cats and unaltered dogs.  There shall be an additional late fee of five dollars ($5.00) assessed to persons who do not renew the licenses within thirty days from its expiration date.  Approved cat collars shall be one dollar ($1.00).  The fee for the multi-year license tags shall be $25.00 for altered cats and altered dogs, $65.00 for unaltered cats and unaltered dogs.  These fees may be changed by the Sheriff after a 60-day public notification.

    (b)  Veterinarians who distribute animal control  tags shall charge the fee set forth in this ordinance or by subsequent resolution.  Veterinarians who purchase their tags from Animal Control shall receive a discount on the retail price for animal tags.  The discount amount shall be set by the sheriff.

    (c)  A fee of two dollars ($2.00) shall be charged by Animal Control for the issuance of a duplicate tag if the original is lost.

    (d)  The fee for vaccinations shall be five dollars ($5.00).

    (e)  Impounding fees shall be ten dollars ($10.00) per animal, and boarding fees shall be five dollars ($5.00) per day, per animal, boarding fee for quarantined animals is seven dollars ($7.00) per day, per animal.

                 (f)  Sterilization fees shall be twenty dollars ($20.00).

    (g)  Adoption fees shall be seventy dollars ($70.00) for dogs six months of age or older and forty dollars ($40.00) for all other animals.  This fee includes the required microchip.

    (h)  In an effort to save an animal from euthanasia, the Animal Control Lieutenant, or his or her designee, may reduce sterilization fees and/or adoption fees when the animal is to be given to an animal rescue group, a non-profit animal oriented group, or during special promotional animal adoption periods.

    (i)  The Sheriff of Polk County may change or set fees to be charged by the Animal Control.

    (j)  In addition to all other fees assessed in any other section of this ordinance, there shall be assessed an additional charge of five dollars ($5.00) upon each civil penalty imposed for violation of the Polk County Animal Control Ordinance.  These fees shall be used to pay the cost of providing a 40-hour minimum standards training course and other required courses for employees of Animal Control .

    SECTION 7: RUNNING AT LARGE; FALSELY IDENTIFYING AN UNALTERED CAT OR DOG AS ALTERED

    (a) No person owning or having custody or control of any dog or unaltered cat shall cause, permit, or allow the animal to stray or run at large in or upon any public street, sidewalk, park, other public property, or private property of another.  Such animal must be leashed, or, if it is a dog, the dog must be under the direct control of the person in custody of the animal.  This section shall not apply to any dog actually engaged in the sport of hunting in authorized areas at authorized times and supervised by a competent person.

    (b)  A properly licensed, vaccinated, and altered cat may run at large if it is wearing an approved elastic collar in the color purple, as described in this section, and/or the appropriate license tag that identifies the cat as altered. If the owner opts to have the altered cat wear the approved identification collar, as described in this section, this identification collar will be distributed by Animal Control upon owner presentation of the appropriate certificate, described in section 4 of this ordinance, which is obtained from a state-licensed veterinarian that verifies the cat is altered.  All such identification collars, if used in lieu of a tag, shall be marked in indelible black ink with the number of the cat’s license tag.  As an option to wearing the approved identification collar, described herein, the owner shall have the cat wear any collar of choice and attach thereto the appropriate license tag, identifying the cat as altered.  As a third option to wearing the approved identification collar or the collar with tag, described herein, the owner shall have the cat wear a purple collar of choice and mark the purple collar in indelible black ink with the number of the cat's license tag.  The animal control authority shall set the price of the approved collars.

    (c)  Once a cat owner has purchased an identification collar from Animal Control, any subsequent collar that the cat may need during the period of time the cat’s license tag is valid, shall be provided to the owner at no additional charge to the owner. Upon issuing this subsequent collar, Animal Control shall mark, in indelible black ink, the number of the cat’s license tag upon the replacement collar.

    (d)  Violation of this section, including misrepresenting an unaltered cat or dog as altered, shall be punishable as provided in this ordinance.

    SECTION 8:  ABANDONMENT OF ANIMALS

    (a)  It shall be unlawful for a person to abandon an animal on the property of another.  Violation of this section shall be prosecuted in a court having jurisdiction of misdemeanors by the State Attorney’s Office thereof, and punishable as provided under Section 125.69, Florida Statutes.

    For purposes of this section, "abandon" shall mean to forsake an animal entirely, or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of the animal. “Abandon” shall also mean failure to take custody of animals ten (10) days after eviction or ten (10) days after release from jail.  Unclaimed animals will be considered abandoned and will be disposed of pursuant to this Ordinance.

    (b)  Any law enforcement officer or any agent of any county or of any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals appointed under Section 828.03, Florida Statutes, may lawfully take custody of any animal found abandoned on the property of another by removing the animal from its present location.

    SECTION 9: HOLDING PERIODS; DISPOSITION OF UNCLAIMED ANIMALS; QUARANTINE

    (a)  The following holding periods are hereby established for animals picked up by, or turned in to  Animal Control, excluding animals surrendered to Animal Control by their owner or custodian.

    (1)  Healthy animals wearing a current, valid tag, or abandoned animals:  Ten (10) calendar days, including the day of impoundment. 

    (2)  Healthy animals not wearing a current, valid tag or county-approved cat collar:  A minimum of four (4) calendar days, excluding county holidays.  The Animal Control Lieutenant, or his or her designee, may extend the holding period beyond this time.

    (3)  Diseased, feral, or injured animals, whether tagged or untagged:  Two (2) hours.

    (b)  Any animal, of which the owner is identified, that is held under quarantine at Animal Control, will be considered unclaimed if not picked up on or before the third day following the quarantine.  If not claimed on or before the third day following the quarantine, the animal will be disposed of as necessary.  Disposition shall include selling, destroying, or utilizing other humane options.

    (c)  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Public Safety Department Director, the Animal Control Lieutenant, or the designee for either person may reduce any holding period in the event of overcrowding or a local state of emergency, as defined in Polk County Ordinance No. 93-28.

    SECTION 10: IMPOUNDING OF ANIMALS RUNNING AT LARGE

    Animal control officers are authorized to impound any dog, unlicensed or unaltered cat, or altered cat  not wearing the appropriate identification required under this ordinance, if that animal is at-large, or astray, and may lawfully enter onto private property when in pursuit of the animal..

    SECTION 11:  DOG OR CAT CREATING NUISANCE

    (a)  Any owner or custodian of any dog or cat that:

    (1)  Habitually barks, whines, howls, meows, cries, or causes other objectionable noises resulting in an unreasonable annoyance to neighboring residents; or

    (2)  Disturbs the peace by habitually or repeatedly destroying, or soiling public or private property, or causing injury, or threatening to cause injury to any person or domestic animal or property other than that of the owner or custodian, or other similar conduct or behavior; Shall be deemed to be maintaining a nuisance in violation of this ordinance. 

    (b)  No owner of a properly zoned commercial kennel or owner of a security dog which is located on commercially or industrially zoned property shall be subject to the provision of this section as it relates to dogs or cats which habitually bark, whine, howl, meow, cry, scream or cause objectionable noises.

    (c)  Upon receipt of a sworn complaint affidavit from a citizen, or a statement from an  officer alleging a violation of this section, an  officer shall investigate and may cause to be issued a Notice of Violation to any dog or cat owner or custodian alleged to be in violation of this section, if the investigation supports such an action.  Said affidavit shall specify the address or location of the alleged violation; the nature, time and dates of the acts; the name and address of the custodian of the animal, if known; a description of the animal, if known; and shall notify the violator that he or she has 72 hours to abate the nuisance or a citation will be issued.  After the 72-hour period has lapsed, a citation shall be issued if the nuisance has not been abated.

    (d)  If a citation is not issued to the owner or custodian of the animal as a result of a complaint, described in subsection (c) of this section, an affidavit, as described in subsection (c) of this section, shall only remain valid for a period of 90 days following the date of service to the animal owner or custodian.

    (e)  Nothing in this section shall prohibit any  officer from investigating an oral complaint, and notifying and citing a violator upon obtaining evidence of the violation.

    (f)  Service– service of process as defined in Chapter 48, Florida Statutes and posting of notice on abode, or U.S. Mail.

    SECTION 12: PROTECTING THE PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY; SEIZING SICK OR INJURED ANIMALS

    If an animal whose owner cannot be located, or will not answer the door, is suspected of being sick, injured, or has inflicted injury on another person or animal, or has approached another person or animal in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, while off its owner's property, it may immediately be picked up, trapped, or captured by remote chemical immobilization from public or private property, if, upon probable cause, the animal control officer determines that the seizure is necessary for public health or safety, or to prevent the animal from suffering.

    SECTION 13: RESIDENTS CAPTURING AT-LARGE ANIMALS

    A property owner or tenant may seize, in a humane manner, any animal at-large on his or her property in violation of this ordinance.  When such a seizure is made, the person shall immediately deliver the animal to an animal control officer.

    Any person who captures an animal pursuant to this section shall exercise care to treat the animal humanely, without causing injury, sickness, hunger, or any other ailments to the animal during seizure and delivery of the animal.  Any person unable to comply fully with this section shall not seize any animal pursuant to this section.  Failure to comply with this section may result in the filing of a cruelty charge, as described in Chapter 828, Florida Statutes.

    SECTION 14: CLASSIFICATION OF DOGS AS DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS

    (a)  "Dangerous dog" means any dog that, according to the records of Animal Control;

    (1)  Has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;

    (2)  Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner's property;

    (3)   Has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or is a dog trained for dog fighting; or

    (4) Has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, provided that such actions are attested to in a sworn statement by one or more persons and dutifully investigated by the appropriate authority.

    (b)  "Vicious dog"  means any dog that,  according to  the records of Animal Control, has

     severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner's property.

    (c)  For purposes of this section:

    "Unprovoked" means that the victim who has been conducting himself or herself peacefully and lawfully has been bitten or chased in a menacing fashion or attacked by a dog.

    "Severe injury" means any physical injury that results in broken bones, multiple bites, or disfiguring lacerations requiring sutures or reconstructive surgery.

    "Proper enclosure of a dangerous or vicious dog" means, while on the owner's property, a dangerous or vicious dog is securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top to prevent the dog from escaping over, under, or through the structure and shall also provide protection from the elements.

    (d)  An animal control authority shall investigate reported incidents involving any dog that may be dangerous or vicious and shall, if possible, interview the owner and require a sworn affidavit from any person, including any animal control officer or enforcement officer, desiring to have a dog classified as dangerous or vicious. Any animal that is the subject of a dangerous or vicious dog investigation, that is not impounded with the animal control authority, shall be humanely and safely confined by the owner in a securely fenced or enclosed area pending the outcome of the investigation and resolution of any hearings related to the dangerous or vicious dog classification. The address of where the animal resides shall be provided to the animal control authority. No dog that is the subject of a dangerous or vicious dog investigation may be relocated or ownership transferred pending the outcome of an investigation or any hearings related to the determination of a dangerous or vicious dog classification. In the event that a dog is to be destroyed, the dog shall not be relocated or ownership transferred.

    (e)  A dog shall not be declared dangerous if a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on the property or, while lawfully on the property, was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or its owner or a family member sustained the threat, injury, or damage. No dog may be declared dangerous or vicious if the dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.

    (f) After the investigation, the animal control authority shall make an initial determination as to whether there is sufficient cause to classify the dog as dangerous or vicious and shall afford the owner an opportunity for a hearing prior to making a final determination. The animal control authority shall provide written notification of the sufficient cause finding, to the owner, by registered mail, certified hand delivery, or service in conformance with the provisions of Chapter 48, Florida Statutes, relating to service of process. The owner may file a written request for a hearing within 7 calendar days from the date of receipt of the notification of the sufficient cause finding and, if requested, the hearing shall be held as soon as possible, but not more than 21 calendar days and no sooner than 5 days after receipt of the request from the owner.  If a hearing is requested, it will be conducted before a hearing officer and pursuant to section 17 of this ordinance.  An owner's failure to request a hearing within 7 calendar days from the date of receipt of the notification of the sufficient cause finding will result in the finding becoming a final determination, and the dog will be classified as dangerous or vicious.

    (g)  Once a dog is classified as a dangerous or vicious dog, the animal control authority shall provide written notification to the owner by registered mail, certified hand delivery or service, and the owner may file a written request for a hearing in the county court to appeal the classification within 10 business days after receipt of a written determination of dangerous or vicious dog classification and must confine the dog in a securely fenced or enclosed area pending a resolution of the appeal.  Appeals shall be conducted pursuant to section 18 of this ordinance.

    (h)   Within 14 days  after a dog has been classified as dangerous or vicious by the animal

    control authority or a dangerous or vicious dog classification is upheld by the county court on appeal, the owner of the dog must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog from the animal control authority serving the area in which he or she resides, and the certificate shall be renewed annually. Animal control authorities are authorized to issue such certificates of registration, and renewals thereof, only to persons who are at least 18 years of age and who present to the animal control authority sufficient evidence of:

    (1)  A current certificate of rabies vaccination for the dog.

    (2)  A proper enclosure to  confine a dangerous  or vicious dog  and the posting of the premises with a clearly visible warning sign at all entry points that informs both children and adults of the presence of a dangerous or vicious dog on the property.

    (3) Installation of a microchip to identify the dog.

    (4) Spay or neuter dangerous animals within 30 days of Declaration.

    (i)  Annual fee for the issuance of certificates of registration shall be determined by the Sheriff of Polk County.

    (j)   The owner shall immediately notify the appropriate animal control authority when a dog that has been classified as dangerous or vicious:  (1) Is loose or unconfined; (2) Has bitten a human being or attacked another animal; (3) Is to be sold, given away, moved to another address, or if the dog dies.

    Prior to a dangerous or vicious dog being sold or given away, the owner shall provide the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner to the animal control authority. The new owner must comply with all of the requirements of this act and implementing local ordinances, even if the animal is moved from one local jurisdiction to another within the state. The owner of a dog classified as dangerous or vicious must notify the animal control officer that the dog is in his or her jurisdiction.

    (k)  It is unlawful for the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog to permit the dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under control of a competent person. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but will prevent it from biting any person or animal. The owner may exercise the dog in a securely fenced or enclosed area that does not have a top, without a muzzle or leash, if the dog remains within his or her sight and only members of the immediate household or persons 18 years of age or older are allowed in the enclosure when the dog is present. When being transported, such dogs must be safely and securely restrained within a vehicle.

    (l)  Hunting dogs are exempt from the provisions of this act when engaged in any legal hunt or training procedure. Dogs engaged in training or exhibiting in legal sports such as obedience trials, conformation shows, field trials, hunting/retrieving trials, and herding trials are exempt from the provisions of this act when engaged in any legal procedures. However, such dogs at all other times in all other respects shall be subject to this and local laws. Dogs that have been classified as dangerous  shall not be used for hunting purposes.

    (m) This section does not apply to dogs used by law enforcement officials for law enforcement work.

    (n)  Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a non-criminal infraction, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500.

    (o)   The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control may confiscate any dog classified as dangerous for euthanasia as a result of the owner’s failure to comply with any or all requirements of the Ordinance.  Should the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control confiscate any dog under this section, notice of sufficient cause to confiscate the animal shall be provided in writing to the owner in accordance with the Ordinance.  The animal shall be held for 10 business days after the owner is provided this written notice and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.  This 10 day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under this section.

    SECTION 15:  ATTACK OR BITE BY A DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS DOG; PENALTIES; CONFISCATION; DESTRUCTION

    (a)  If a  dog  that has  previously been  declared dangerous  attacks or  bites a person or a domestic animal without provocation, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in Section 775.082 or 775.083, Florida Statutes.  If a dog has previously been declared vicious attacks or bites a person or a domestic animal without provocation, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in Section 775.082 or 775.083, Florida Statutes.  In addition, the dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time, or impounded and held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under section 14 of the ordinance and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under section 14 of this ordinance. The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during any appeal procedure.

    A vicious dog may be confiscated, quarantined, or impounded and disposed of in the same manner, and with the same due process considerations.

    (b) If a dog that has not been declared dangerous attacks and causes severe injury to or death of any human, the dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time or held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under section 14 of this ordinance, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under section 14 of this ordinance.   The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during any appeal procedure. In addition, if the owner of the dog had prior knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities, yet demonstrated a reckless disregard for such propensities under the circumstances, the owner of the dog is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in Section 775.082 or 775.083, Florida Statutes.

    (c)   If a dog that has previously been declared dangerous attacks and causes severe injury to or death of any human, the owner is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in sections 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084.  In addition, the dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time or held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under section 14 of this ordinance, and thereafter destroyed in an   expeditious and humane manner.   This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under section 14 of this ordinance.  The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during any appeal procedure.

    (d)  If the owner files a written appeal under section 14 of this ordinance or this section, the dog must be held and may not be destroyed while the appeal is pending.

     (e)  If a dog attacks or bites a person who is engaged in or attempting to engage in a criminal activity at the time of the attack, the owner is not guilty of any crime specified under this section

    SECTION 16: BITE BY POLICE OR SERVICE DOG; EXEMPTION FROM QUARANTINE

    Any dog that is owned, or the service of which is employed, by a law enforcement agency, or any dog that is used as a service dog for blind, hearing impaired, or disabled persons, and that bites another animal or human is exempt from any quarantine requirement following such bite if the dog has a current rabies vaccination that was administered by a licensed  veterinarian.

    SECTION 17: DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS DOG HEARING PROCEDURES

    (a)  A hearing officer appointed by the BOCC shall impartially preside over the hearing.

    (b) Each case before the hearing officer shall be presented by an animal control officer who will have the burden of presenting evidence that the dog is dangerous or vicious and should be classified as such.  If the evidence indicates that the dog is dangerous or vicious, the burden is on the owner to present evidence that the dog is not dangerous or vicious.  At the hearing the owner may question witnesses presented by the animal control officer, call witnesses, present evidence, and examine evidence.

    (c)  All testimony shall be under oath and shall be recorded. The hearing officer shall hear testimony from the animal control officer(s), the owner(s) of the dog, and any witnesses for either side. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but fundamental due process shall be observed and shall govern the proceedings.

    (d)  At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue findings of fact, based on evidence of record and conclusions of law, and shall issue an order classifying the dog as dangerous or vicious, or an order stating that there is insufficient cause to declare the dog dangerous or vicious.

    (e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a hearing officer from taking a case under advisement or continuing a hearing in the interest of justice.

    SECTION 18:  APPEALING THE DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS DOG  CLASSIFICATION

    An appeal of the dangerous or vicious dog classification shall be made to the county court.  Such an appeal shall not be a hearing de novo, but shall be limited to appellate review of the record created before the hearing officer.

    Upon remand by the appellate court, the matter will be brought to hearing before a hearing officer in no less than 5, nor more than 21 days from the date of the appellate court's written order.

    SECTION 19: SURRENDER OF ANIMAL BY OWNER

    An animal may be surrendered into the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control, and when surrendered it will immediately become the property of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to be disposed of as they see fit.

    SECTION 20: ANIMAL CONTROL PET OWNER EDUCATION COURSE

    People cited for the first time for violation of the section pertaining to vaccination and tags, nuisance, or altered animals running at large, may choose to attend an Animal Control Pet Owner Education Course in lieu of paying the fines established under this ordinance.  If the violator satisfactorily completes the course on or before the specified date provided to him or her, the violation shall be deemed a warning and recorded as such.

    The course must be completed at the location, time, and date specified on the citation.  Failure to attend the course will result in the citation being processed as a first offense and recorded as such.

    SECTION 21: DUTIES AND AUTHORITY OF OFFICERS

    It shall be the duty of all animal control officers, Deputy Sheriffs, or local Police Officers, if their agency has adopted the ordinance, to enforce this ordinance and its amendments, if any.  An animal control officer is hereby authorized to issue citations and

    notices to appear for the violation of this ordinance when, based upon personal investigation, the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a violation of this ordinance has occurred.

    SECTION 22: INTERFERENCE WITH OFFICERS

    No individual shall interfere with an Animal Control Officer while in the legal performance of his or her duties.  This includes but is not limited to, striking or attempting to strike the Animal Control Officer; providing the Animal Control Officer with false information; taking or attempting to take any animal from any Animal Control officer in the legal performance of his or her duties, from any official vehicle used by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to transport animals, or from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Facility without proper authority; or to taking or damaging any county property used in conjunction with the legal performance of the Animal Control Officer’s duties.  In addition to constituting a violation of this Ordinance, such action may be punishable pursuant to Section 838.021, Florida Statutes.

    SECTION 23: PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION

    Except where specified under certain sections of this ordinance, violation of any provision in this ordinance, and its amendments, if any, is a civil infraction.

    (a)  For violation of the section relevant to vaccination and tags, the animal control officer shall have the discretion either to issue a Notice of Violation with no civil penalty or issue a citation for a fine in the amount of thirty dollars ($30.00) for the first offense.  The second offense occurring within three (3) years, whether the first offense resulted in a Notice of Violation or a fine, shall require a fine in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00).  The third offense occurring within three (3) years shall require a fine in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00).  Subsequent offenses occurring within three (3) years of the previous occurrence shall be punishable by such monetary penalty as the court may impose, not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per animal.  Fines will be assessed per animal found in violation of the section of the ordinance relevant to vaccination and tags.  Issuance of a citation or Notice of Violation to an adult member of the household in which an animal resides shall be deemed an offense, and knowledge of the citation or Notice of Violation will be imputed on all the members of the household.

    (b) For violation of the section of this ordinance relevant to nuisance, the animal control officer shall issue a Notice of Violation with no civil penalty for the first offense.  The first offense after the Notice of Violation will result in a citation being issued with a fine in the amount of thirty dollars ($30.00) per animal.  The second offense after the Notice of Violation, occurring within three (3) years, shall require a fine in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) per occurrence.  The third offense after the Notice of Violation, occurring within three (3) years, shall require a fine in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00) per occurrence.  Subsequent offenses shall be punishable by such monetary penalty as the court may impose, not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per occurrence or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 60 days, or by both a fine and imprisonment.  For animals on land zoned for agricultural purposes, the maximum possible penalty shall be five hundred dollars ($500.00) only.

    (c)  For violation of the section of this ordinance relevant to running at large or falsely identifying an unaltered animal as altered, the animal control officer shall have the discretion to either issue a Notice of Violation with no civil penalty or issue a citation for a fine in the amount of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per occurrence for the first offense, for an altered animal not wearing the appropriate identification required by this ordinance; one hundred dollars ($100.00) per occurrence for an unaltered animal.  The second offense occurring within three (3) years, whether the first offense resulted in a Notice of Violation or a fine, shall require a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00) per occurrence for an altered animal not wearing the appropriate identification required by this ordinance; one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00) per occurrence for an unaltered animal.  The third offense occurring within three (3) years shall require a fine in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00) per occurrence for an altered animal not wearing the appropriate identification required by this ordinance; two hundred dollars ($200.00) per occurrence for an unaltered animal.  Subsequent offenses occurring within three (3) years of the previous occurrence shall be punishable by such monetary penalty as the court may impose, not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per occurrence.  If the owner presents proof that the animal is altered, within ten days of the offense, or within ten (10) days of the quarantine release date, the owner shall pay the altered animal fine (This provision does not apply where the owner or custodian of the animal falsely identified the animal as altered.).  The issuance of a citation for falsely identifying an unaltered animal as altered, does not preclude issuance of a citation for allowing the falsely identified animal to run at large.

    (d)  For violation of the section of this ordinance relevant to interference with any animal control officer, the civil penalty shall be in the amount of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00), per officer, for the first offense.  Subsequent offenses occurring within three (3) years of the last offense shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per officer.

    (e)  For violation of the section of this ordinance relevant to abandonment, the civil penalty shall be in the amount of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00), per occurrence, for the first offense.  Subsequent offenses occurring within three (3) years of the last offense shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per occurrence.

    (f)  If an animal scratches, bites, or physically injures any person while running at large, not properly vaccinated, not properly tagged, the offense shall require a fine of one hundred dollars ($100.00), in addition to any other applicable fine for a first offense.  The subsequent offenses occurring within three (3) years shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per occurrence.

     (g)  All fines may be changed by resolution of the board.

    SECTION 24: FORM OF CITATION AND NOTICE

    Pursuant to section 828.27(1)(f), Florida Statutes, citations and notices to appear issued by an officer shall be in a form prescribed by the board of county commissioners and shall state, at a minimum, the following:

    (1)  The date and time of issuance.

    (2)  The name and address of the person.

    (3)  The date and time the civil infraction was committed.

    (4)  The facts constituting probable cause.

    (5)  The ordinance violated.

    (6)  The name and authority of the officer.

    (7)  The procedure for the person to follow in order to pay the civil penalty, to contest the citation, or to appear in court as required under section 828.27(6), Florida Statutes.

    (8)  The applicable civil penalty, pursuant to section 23 of this ordinance, for the violation.

    (9) If applicable, a 10% reduction in the civil penalty amount if the person elects not to contest the citation.

    (10) A conspicuous statement that if the person fails to pay the civil penalty within the time allowed, or fails to appear in court to contest the citation, the person shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to contest the citation and judgment may be entered against the person for an amount up to the applicable civil penalty as well as an additional late fee assessed by the clerk and recording fees.

    (11) A conspicuous statement that if the person is required to appear in court, as mandated by section 828.27(6), Florida Statutes, he or she does not have the option of paying a fine in lieu of appearing in court; nor is the person entitled to a 10% reduction in the civil penalty amount.

    SECTION 25: PROCEDURE UPON CITATION

    (a)  Any person cited for violation of this ordinance shall be deemed charged with a non-criminal infraction.  Any person cited for an infraction under this ordinance shall sign and accept a citation acknowledging receipt of the citation and indicating a promise to appear in county court, if such person wishes to contest the charge(s).  Failure to sign and accept the citation shall be punishable as provided in Section 828.27(5), Florida Statutes.

    (b)  The applicable fine shall be reduced by 10% if the person who has committed the civil infraction does not contest the citation.  The payment must be postmarked or received by the clerk’s office no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date the citation was issued.  If the person cited pays the applicable fine, he or she shall be deemed to have admitted the infraction and waived his or her right to a trial.

    (c)  In order to contest a citation, the person must deliver or send a copy of the citation along with a written request for a hearing to the Clerk's Office; such requests must be received or postmarked no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the citation.  Upon receipt of the request for hearing, the Clerk's Office will set a hearing date and send notice to the person contesting the citation.

    (d)  If a person fails to pay and fails to request a hearing within thirty (30) days of receipt of the citation, the Clerk's Office shall issue a Notice to Appear.  The clerk shall assess a ten-dollar ($10.00) fee for each penalty paid after the initial thirty (30) day period.  The late fee will be retained by the clerk's office for the purpose of defraying operating expenses.

    (e)  If a person has failed to pay the fine and applicable late fee, and fails to appear in court to contest the citation, the court may issue an order to show cause upon the request of the Sheriff of Polk County.  This order shall require such person to appear before the court to explain why action on the citation has not been taken.  If any person who is issued such an order fails to appear in response to the court's directive, that person may be held in contempt of court.  In addition, failure to pay the civil penalty shall result in the recording of a lien in the amount of the civil penalty, late fee, and recording fees.

    (f)  In the event an animal is impounded for violation of this ordinance and the owner of the animal abandons the animal to the Animal Control Section, the owner remains liable for the civil penalties imposed for violation of this ordinance.

    SECTION 26: CITATION CONSTITUTES WARNING TO HOUSEHOLD

    Issuance of a citation, warning, or a Notice of Violation to an adult member of the household in which an animal resides shall be deemed notice of the citation, warning, or Notice of Violation to all members of the household.

    SECTION 27: POLK COUNTY ORDINANCES  04-16 ARE HEREBY REPEALED.

    SECTION 28: SEVERABILITY

    If any provision or application of this Ordinance is for any reason held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions or applications of this Ordinance, which can be given effect without the invalid provision, or application and, to this end, the provisions of this Ordinance are declared severable.

    SECTION 29: EFFECTIVE DATE

    A certified copy of this ordinance shall be filed with the Florida Department of State.  This ordinance shall take effect upon the receipt of acknowledgment that the ordinance has been filed with the Department.