Broward County outlaws cat hoarding and dog tethering

Broward County, the second most-populated county in Florida, added new bite to its laws aimed at protecting animals from abuse.

The county’s commissioners recently passed a largely revised animal care law that issues guidance over how Broward pet owners need to care for their animals, according to the Sun Sentinel. The new law officially classifies animal hoarding as illegal abuse - a first for the county. In addition, Broward commissioners passed a law prohibiting owners from tethering their dogs.

While the new law doesn’t specifically mention a number of pets that qualifies as hoarding, it does lay out how the county will define hoarding.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the county defines hoarding as “the intentional accumulation of a group of animals which has overwhelmed a person’s ability to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation and care to the animals, coupled with an inability or refusal to acknowledge that the condition of the animals is deteriorating.”

The law features a wide range of provisions aimed at protecting pets’ health and well-being, including:

  • Cats can now be neutered or spayed and released back into colonies, which diminishes the local shelters’ cat populations.
  • Pets must be protected from extremely hot or cold temperatures, as well as harsh weather conditions.
  • Dogs must be given exercise daily.
  • Dogs under 20 pounds kept in yards must have at least 100 square feet of space, and larger dogs must have at least 200 square feet.
  • Unspayed female dogs and cats must be kept indoors while in heat.
  • Outdoor shelter must have clean, dry bedding. All fecal matter must be kept in a sealed container.
  • Ferrets are designated as domestic animals and must receive rabies vaccinations.

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