On our SE Seminole Heights neighborhood email list we have had some discussions going on about dogs. Stray and loose Dogs. Dogs being walked unleashed. Walked dogs going to the bathroom on people's yards. People being irresponsible pet owners.
Today I sent out the following email:
"It's clear from the rash of emails we have some big issues with dogs (and also cats) in this neighborhood. This is not the first time this has come up. There was big issue a while back about a pack of stray dogs running through the neighborhood.
To sum up the problems we have are:
Unspayed and un-neutered dogs.
Owners walking unleashed dogs.
Dogs being mistreated,abused/neglected by owners
Dogs just abandoned.
People not cleaning up after their dog goes to the bathroom.
Dogs just tied up in yards
Dogs that are not licensed and do not have necessary immunizations or proof of titers.
unspayed/unneutered feral cats.
We as a neighborhood need to take a more proactive approach, the same way we did with prostitution.
1. We need to educate our neighbors about how to escape proof their yard, about why the should be spayed and neutered, about leash laws, about proper treatment of dogs, need for licenses and etc.
2. We need to find methods of dealing with loose, escaped and abandoned dogs.
3. We need to seek better involvement by animal control and other appropriate authorities.
4. We need to know the laws and procedures involved.
5. We need to seek having a mobile low cost spay and neuter clinic come in at least twice a year.
6. We need to provide info about basic minimum care of our animals and also provide info about benefis of higher levels of care.
7. We need to particiapte in feral cat trap and nueter programs
8. We need to go hard against those serial violators.
9. We need to create a pool of animal foster parents and support them, if need be with money, food, time or other assistance.
10. We need to get in involved with local dog and cats activist groups.
In short we need education, enforcement and services.
We need a group of people willing to organize tackle this issue via the neighborhood association."
However I know this is something that affects the entire Seminole Heights area. I wonder if all 3 associations could get together on this issue, just the way we got together on prostitution? Work the city and county government and work the media, to point out what a problem it is and seek effective solutions beyond the status quo.
Like prostitution one answer will not solve the problem. We need to be creative.
The first step is to determine what are the existing laws and procedures, what services are available and what organizations are out there.
What does State Law, and City Ordinances have to say on the issue, where are there low cost spay and neuter clinics, what rescue organizations are there and etc. It is important not only to look at animal ordinances but related ordinances such as code enforcment and nuisance laws
Another step is to research what has been done in other communities, come up with our own ideas and then seek changes.
Hillsbrough County Animal Control Ordinance
Dangerous Dog Registry
Selected Florida Animal Related Laws
National Canine Research Foundation
Related prior blog story Spay Day