Dangerous Dogs Ordinance Toughens Up

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BAY COUNTY - Tina Guynn says she and her husband are still struggling to rebuild a fencing business hit hard by the recession.

"It's been a little slow, yeah. The last couple of years, the economy has really hit us hard," said Guynn.

That could change after Bay County commissioner's beefed-up the dangerous dogs ordinance Tuesday. The biggest change to the ordinance is how dangerous dogs are enclosed.

"What we have done is we've put things in the conditions that will better protect the public from a dangerous dog," said Bay County Commissioner, Bill Dozier.

Commissioners say they've been working on the ordinance for some time.

"This is not just a knee jerk reaction from one or two isolated incidents. This has been an ongoing effort to improve the ordinance," said Dozier.

If your dog stays indoors, your house and a fence will fulfill the requirement, but if you allow you dog to stay outside, you must have a fence that's at least six feet tall and a covered kennel.

In both of those cases, Guynn has a fence she recommends.

"Your dogs can't see out, they're not going to be tempted, you know, to see another dog or a person to try and jump over the fence or dig to get out," said Guynn.

This only applies to dogs the county has deemed as dangerous. According to Florida Statute 767.11, a dangerous dog "has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;

It has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property; or

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."

Owners also have to update animal control on an annual basis. If a dangerous dog violate any part of the ordinance, the county has the authorities to euthanize the animal.

There were more than 100 documented dog bite cases in Bay County from May 2012 to May 2013, but as of Wednesday, county code enforcement officials have deemed less than two dozen dogs as dangerous.

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