Commissioners enact tougher pet laws
By HECTOR FLORIN
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH — County commissioners formally enacted stronger dog
and cat breeder laws this afternoon after hearing from an impassioned
By a 5-1 vote, commissioners passed an ordinance that penalizes dog
breeders who do not register with the county. Dog and cats must be
spayed or neutered if they don't pay for the unaltered tag. Hobby
breeders are limited to breeding no more than two litters in one
County Animal Care and Control Division Director Dianne Sauve has
argued that tougher breeder rules will help stem the county's pet
overpopulation problem. The proposed rules will require all residents
to spay or neuter their pets, unless they pay for a more expensive
license and sign an affidavit agreeing not to breed the animals.
Breeder groups have said the law unfairly targets them, the
responsible pet owners.
For about two hours, applause showered on those speaking for and
against the county's proposal inside the packed county commission
Some opponents are waving yellow signs that read "Bad Ordinance," and
are wearing red ribbons that say, "I own a dog. I vote."
Diane Albers, president of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs,
drove from Lake Mary to West Palm Beach for the meeting.
"This law that they are adopting has already failed everywhere in our
country," Albers said in a brief interview in the county commission
chambers. "It will drive euthanasias up. It will divide your
community. It will divide neighbor against neighbor. The licensing
will go down."
Supporters argued something must be done to drive down the pet
overpopulation numbers, while breeders would still be allowed to do
"The breeders can still get a permit" and can be grandfathered in for
free, if they sign up within 90 days of the law passing, said Wendy
Duncan, a West Palm Beach resident who owns five mixed-breed
dogs. "Like any law, if you follow it, you won't have any problems."
..."Other businesses are required to have licensing fees, so why not
the breeders?" Zwicker said. "This is not an issue of an owner's
rights. It is an issue of animals' rights to have a life. Owning an
animal is not a person's right. It is not a constitutional right."
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