Action delayed after dozens decry proposed Hernando County animal services ordinance

Ordiance could be revised in next few weeks

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - Hernando County Officials are trying to clean up the mess at Hernando County's Animal Services.

Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes knows the department needs attention, saying "This has been a tumor on the county for a while."

The real outcry started earlier this year when a dog named Zeus was euthanized just minutes after he came in. Independent investigations brought many other problems to light.

"We have made changes, we have removed people," said Dukes.

The next step is to pass an ordinance to address many of the problems. It was to be up for discussion at Tuesday morning's commission meeting.

However, the board is postponing the talk for three more weeks, after so many people turned out against the ordinance.  "There must be a hundred of us, from all different points of view," said animal services volunteer Laurie Boyten.

Those fighting the ordinance say it violates constitutional rights, by allowing officers to do home inspections if you have more than four dogs on less than an acre.

It also allows animals to be killed without a tranquilizer.  And all strays would have to be reported.

"Why they would want to come and take away strays that they can kill, is beyond me," said Boyten.

The bottom line, those against the proposed ordinance say it will lead to more animals getting euthanized.

"We are not against regulation. We feel that regulations have to be workable, enforceable, make sense," said Florida Association of Kennel Clubs President Leah James.

Officials says they are trying to do the best they can with limited funds, and no matter what happens, Hernando can never offer a no-kill shelter.

They hope, in the next few weeks, before they discuss the issue again, the county attorney will hear from those who have concerns, and revise the ordinance.

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