Animal Control Citation Hearings
828.27 Local animal control or cruelty ordinances; penalty.– (1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Animal” means any living dumb creature.
(b) “Animal control officer” means any person employed 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.
(c) “Control” means the regulation of the possession, ownership, care, and custody of animals.
(d) “Cruelty” means any act of neglect, torture, or torment that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering of an animal.
(e) “Officer” means any law enforcement officer defined in s. 943.10 or any animal control officer.
(f) “Citation” means a written notice, issued to a person by an officer, that the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a civil infraction in violation of a duly enacted ordinance and that the county court will hear the charge. The citation must contain:
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 subsection (6).
8. The applicable civil penalty if the person elects to contest the citation.
9. The applicable civil penalty 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 that, in such case, judgment may be entered against the person for an amount up to the maximum civil penalty.
11. A conspicuous statement that if the person is required to appear in court as mandated by subsection (6), he or she does not have the option of paying a fine in lieu of appearing in court.
(g) “Ordinance” means any ordinance relating to the control of or cruelty to animals enacted by the governing body of a county or municipality the violation of which is a civil infraction.
(2) The governing body of a county or municipality is authorized to enact ordinances relating to animal control or cruelty, which ordinances must provide:
(a) That a violation of such an ordinance is a civil infraction.
(b) A maximum civil penalty not to exceed $500.
(c) A civil penalty of less than the maximum civil penalty if the person who has committed the civil infraction does not contest the citation.
(d) For the issuance of a citation by an officer who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed an act in violation of an ordinance.
(e) For the contesting of a citation in the county court.
(f) That, if a person fails to pay the civil penalty, fails to appear in court to contest the citation, or fails to appear in court as required by subsection (6), the court may issue an order to show cause upon the request of the governing body of the county or municipality. This order shall require such persons to appear before the court to explain why action on the citation has not been taken. If any person who is issued such order fails to appear in response to the court’s directive, that person may be held in contempt of court.
(g) Such procedures and provisions as are necessary to implement any ordinances enacted under the authority of this section.
(3) The commission of a charged infraction at a hearing authorized pursuant to this chapter must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
(4)(a)1. County-employed animal control officers shall, and municipally employed animal control officers may, successfully complete a 40-hour minimum standards training course. Such course shall include, but is not limited to, training for: animal cruelty investigations, search and seizure, animal handling, courtroom demeanor, and civil citations. The course curriculum must be approved by the Florida Animal Control Association. An animal control officer who successfully completes such course shall be issued a certificate indicating that he or she has received a passing grade.
2. Any animal control officer who is authorized prior to January 1, 1990, by a county or municipality to issue citations is not required to complete the minimum standards training course.
3. In order to maintain valid certification, every 2 years each certified county-employed animal control officer shall complete 4 hours of postcertification continuing education training. Such training may include, but is not limited to, training for: animal cruelty investigations, search and seizure, animal handling, courtroom demeanor, and civil citations.
(b) The governing body of a county or municipality may impose and collect a surcharge of up to $5 upon each civil penalty imposed for violation of an ordinance relating to animal control or cruelty. The proceeds from such surcharges shall be used to pay the costs of training for animal control officers.
(6) The governing body of a county or municipality may require mandatory court appearances for certain aggravated violations of a local ordinance resulting in the unprovoked biting, attacking, or wounding of a domestic animal; violations resulting in the destruction or loss of personal property; second or subsequent violations of local animal cruelty laws; or violations resulting in the issuance of a third or subsequent citation to a person. The citation must clearly inform the person of the mandatory court appearance. The governing body of the county or municipality shall maintain records to prove the number of citations issued to the person. Persons required to appear in court do not have the option of paying the fine instead of appearing in court.
(7) Nothing contained in this section shall prevent any county or municipality from enacting any ordinance relating to animal control or cruelty which is identical to the provisions of this chapter or any other state law, except as to penalty. However, no county or municipal ordinance relating to animal control or cruelty shall conflict with the provisions of this chapter or any other state law.
Sec. 14-36. Definitions.
For the purposes of this article, the following words, terms and phrases, shall have the meaning set forth in this section. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular, words in the singular number include the plural, and words in the male gender include the female gender. The word “shall” is always mandatory and not merely supervisory.
Abandon means for an owner or caregiver to forsake an animal entirely or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of an animal.
Aggressive animal means an animal that has shown a habit or practice of attacking or exhibiting hostile, injurious or destructive actions or behaviors.
Aggressive attack means an attack without noticeable provocation of the attacker by the attacked.
Animal means any living non-human creature.
Animal enforcement officer means any person employed or appointed by the county who is authorized to investigate, on public or private property, infractions relating to chapter 14 of this Code pertaining to animal control or cruelty to animals, and to issue citations as provided in this chapter, and in accordance with F.S. § 828.27.
Animal services and enforcement director means the director of the county animal services and enforcement department.
At large means off the premises of the owner, and not under the physical control of the owner by means of a leash, cord or chain of sufficient strength to control the animal, not to exceed six feet in length. A police dog or police horse, as defined in F.S. § 843.19, while in use by a law enforcement agency, shall not be deemed at large.
Board means the Board of County Commissioners of Brevard County, Florida.
Caregiver means any person who provides food, water, or shelter to, or otherwise cares for any animal, feral or tame, over a designated period of time that the person, whether of their own volition or by request of the owner of that animal, provides care for the animal(s).
Citation means a written notice, issued to a person by an officer who has probable cause to believe that the person to whom the citation has been issued has committed a civil infraction in violation of a duly enacted ordinance or code, and that the county court shall hear the charge. The citation shall contain:
(1) The date and time of issuance.
(2) The name and address of the person to whom the citation was issued.
(3) The date and time the civil infraction was committed.
(4) The facts constituting probable cause.
(5) The ordinance section violated.
(6) The name and authority of the officer.
(7) The procedure for the person to follow in order to pay the civil penalty, or to contest the citation.
(8) The applicable civil penalty if the person elects to contest the citation.
(9) The applicable civil penalty 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, he shall be deemed to have waived his right to contest the citation, and that, in such case, judgment may be entered against the person for an amount up to the maximum civil penalty.
Council means the animal control authority’s designated representatives which will hear appeals of notices of sufficient cause as set forth in section 14-49, below.
County means Brevard County, Florida.
Cruelty means any act of neglect, torture or torment that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering of an animal.
Dangerous dog means any dog that, according to the records of county animal services and enforcement:
(1) Has without provocation aggressively bitten, attacked or endangered a human being, or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;
(2) Has, without provocation, 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 fighting, or is a dog trained for dog fighting; or
(4) Has, without provocation, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds in an aggressive, 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.
(5) A dog shall not be declared dangerous if the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on the property or, while lawfully on the property, was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or its owner or a family member.
(6) No dog may be declared dangerous if the dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.
Domestic animal means any horse, cow, goat, sheep, swine, dog, cat, poultry or other historically domesticated beast or bird.
Exotic animal is an animal of any non-domestic species that is not indigenous to Florida.
Farm animal is a domestic animal, not a dog or cat, which is normally raised for harness, riding, food, milk, eggs, or wool for local consumption or sold to others, or those animals bred for those purposes and may be ungulate (such as horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and other animals in the Orders Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla), bird or other animal commonly referred to as livestock.
Feral animal means an animal that exists in a wild or untamed state, either due to birth or reversion to a wild state from domestication and has no known owner. Stray animals may be feral or tame, but are considered feral where they are not known or are unwanted.
Harborer means any person or entity which performs acts of care, shelter, protection, restraint, refuge, food or nourishment in such a manner as to control an animal’s activities.
High-risk rabies animal is an animal of a species designated by the National Center For Disease Control as having a high susceptibility to contracting rabies and infecting other animals. It includes members of the families Canidae (dogs), Felidae (cats), Mustelidae (skunks, otters), Procyonidae (raccoons), and certain species of the Order Chiroptera (bats).
Hybrid animal is any animal resulting from a cross between parents that are genetically unlike, such as breeding a domestic cat (Felis catus) or dog (Canis familiaris) with a wild species of the same family such as bobcat (Felis rufus) or wolf (Canis lupus).
Insecurely fenced property means real property that an animal can readily enter upon, or leave, by going over, under or through an existing fence.
Kennel means any locked structure or enclosure in which an animal is humanely confined and secured.
License certificate means a county animal license certificate issued pursuant to this chapter.
License tag means a county animal license tag issued pursuant to this chapter.
Licensed veterinarian means any person who is licensed to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine in this state, under the authority of F.S. ch. 474.
Minor injury is any injury that does not meet the definition of severe injury.
Notice means written notice by registered mail, certified hand delivery, or service in conformance with the provision of F.S. ch. 48 relating to service of process.
(1) Disturbing the peace and quiet of any person by habitually or continually barking, howling, crying, screaming, or making other bothersome noises.
(2) Disturbing the peace of any person by habitually or repeatedly destroying, desecrating or soiling public or private property, chasing persons, livestock, cars or other vehicles, running at large, or other behavior that interferes with the reasonable use and enjoyment of the property.
Officer means any law enforcement officer, as defined in F.S. § 943.10, and any veterinarian, as defined in F.S. § 474.02, and any animal control officer, as defined in this section.
Owner means any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust, estate or any other legal entity, business unit or organization possessing, harboring, keeping or having control or custody of an animal temporarily or permanently, or, if the animal is owned by a person under the age of 18 years, that person’s parent or legal guardian. This definition is intended to include a harborer/care giver.
Police dog means any dog which is owned, or the service of which is employed, by a law enforcement agency for the principle purpose of aiding in the detection of criminal activity, enforcement of laws, or apprehension of offenders.
Probable cause means reasonable grounds, based on personal knowledge of facts and circumstances or trustworthy information, sufficient to warrant a belief that there is a violation of this article.
Secure enclosure means:
(1) A building in which an animal is confined, such as the owner’s dwelling.
(2) A locked kennel with secure top and sides, consisting of at least 11 gauge chain link wire and secure floor, to prevent the animal from escaping, and which provides protection from the elements.
Service animal means any animal, including a non-human primate, that is especially trained to assist or provide personal care services for a disabled person, as defined under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Severe injury means any physical injury to an animal or human that results in a fractured or broken bone or bones, or a damaged ligament, tendon, nerve or vessel, multiple bites, disfiguring lacerations or injuries requiring sutures, or reconstructive surgery.
Suitable shelter means shelter that provides the animal or animals suitable protection from rain, sun or elements. For example, a tree does not qualify for dogs or cats but could qualify for horses, cows or other livestock.
Sustenance means food or feed appropriate to the species consuming it and providing the essential materials for good health, growth, reproduction and general life functions. It also includes clean, potable water in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain vital functions of the animal and which the animal has constant access. Both food and water must be in containers designed and situated to allow the animal easy access to them.
Unprovoked means an animal attacks despite the victim conducting himself peacefully and lawfully, without threatening, teasing, or attacking the offending animal.
Zoonoses or zoonotic disease means those diseases transmittable to humans from animals, including parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases.
(Ord. No. 93-05, § 1(4-3), 4-13-93; Ord. No. 93-11, § 1(4-3), 6-8-93; Ord. No. 94-24, § 1, 11-15-94; Ord. No. 97-10, § 1, 3-25-97; Ord. No. 98-01, § 1, 1-20-98; Ord. No. 99-39, § 1, 5-25-99; Ord. No. 2000-06, § 1, 1-25-00)
Cross reference(s)–Definitions generally, § 1-2.