Animal Control Notes 6/13/2018

Ron Altman (Field Supervisor) and John Douglass

Animal Control is a complaint driven service. There are only 5 animal control officers for all of Pasco County.  There is only one available after hours to handle all of Pasco County.  That’s over 500,000 residents and/or 225,000 pets. Currently, there is no funding available for extra animal control officers.

Calls into Animal Control for the month of May:

Aggressive dog complaints                  95

Loose dogs                                               67

Injured animals                                       52

Stray dogs                                                  58

Animal Cruelty                                         62

Bites to humans                                       152

Animals are considered personal property in Florida. Therefore, human life will take priority.  Bitten calls and aggressiveness toward a human are considered a priority above the others.   Animal Control can only address violations that are in legal plain view (from the roadway).  Cannot trespass onto private property to view violations without the property owner and/or legal tenant being the complainant.  Not all request types will be taken anonymously.

Social media is a fantastic way to share information within the neighborhood but, shouldn’t be used as a substitute for calling animal control.  Animal Control doesn’t monitor social media.  If you see something, you should say something.  Some reports can be anonymous.  However, this is not helpful when the officer needs more detailed

information and there is no one to ask. Provide as much detail and information as possible.  This helps in aiding the investigation and holding those responsible accountable for their actions.

Some afterhours complaints can be handled by the sheriff’s office.   If a dog is barking non-stop for more than 10 minutes and it’s late at night or early in the morning-that’s disturbing the peace.  If there’s a bite, calling 847-8102 option 7 will take you directly to fire rescue.  Unfortunately, abandoned animals will be handled during business hours.

Animal Control is for domestic dogs and cats. They are not equipped to deal with wildlife (including goats and chickens).  Infractions would go to Code Enforcement or the Sheriff’s dept Agricultural Division.  Holiday is not zoned for livestock.  If you witness a crime against wildlife, natural resources or you encounter an injured wild animal, you can call the FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission) 888-404-3922. From your cellular *FWC or #FWC.

Some of the questions asked during the meeting:

What can I do about dogs/owners leaving poop in my yard?  Nothing. It would have to be proven before anything could be done.

What can we do to help?  If you see something, say something.  Report it to the proper authorities.  If you care, then call.

There’s a wild hog in the area, tore up a neighbor’s yard. What can we do?  Hire a private trapper.  Understand it will be killed on your property because it is illegal to transport wild animals.  The county doesn’t have the funds to help with the cost.

What about the coyotes eating the stray cats? Coyotes mainly eat plants, berries and small rodents.  They won’t go after a cat unless it’s injured.  Coyotes don’t go near traps because they smell human on them.

I’m concerned about vigilante-like behavior. I read a posting about poisoning animals with antifreeze in ground beef.  Threatening to shoot the dogs if they come near them.  Can someone just shoot a dog?  A dog can legally be shot if it is lunging toward you and you are in danger of being attacked.  If a dog is on your property and you are inside, the answer is no.  Once you are away from the animal, you are no longer in danger.   Cruelty to animals is a crime.  Poisoning would qualify.  If it’s on a public forum, you could screenshot the comments and turn them into the authorities.  It’s a cybercrime.  Perhaps, if you know who/where they are/live, someone of authority could visit and have an informative conversation with them. It’s an opportunity to educate.

What efforts are being to impose stricter fines and penalties for people who abuse, abandon and neglect?   First offences are always a warning.  It’s an opportunity for the officer to educate them on their wrong doing.   But, even before they can get that far, it’s about information.  The more information an officer has, the better chance he/she has with the county and state attorneys.  Many cases are pled down, or only small fines are imposed because of lack of evidence/information.  It’s frustrating.  Animal Control and Code Enforcement are public knowledge. Hearings are on the same day with Judge Frank Grey.  The next session is Thursday 6/21/2018 at 9am.

In regard to feral cats and TNVR services, the following links were provided to us via email:

Also, for any who are interested in fostering, they can email adoptionpartners@pascocountyfl.net to be added to the foster registry.  They should include their contact information as well as their preference to neonates, bottle babies or weaned kittens.

June 28thwe’ll be having our General Monthly meeting for the Civic Association.  Rachel Stever, the Education and Outreach Coordinator will be a guest speaker from Pasco County Animal Services.