Fraser dog ordinance becomes law on Saturday
May 6, 2009
An updated animal control ordinance goes into effect on Saturday, May 9 in Fraser.
The ordinance was passed by the Fraser Board of Trustees one month ago.
The new ordinance means several minor but important changes for dog owners in the Town of Fraser.
First, while the ordinance is not a leash law, it does require that dogs are under “effective and immediate control” of their owners at all times.
In the past, Fraser’s animal control ordinance asked that dog owners have “physical or audible control”.
The difference, said Fraser-Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor, is that owners “direct physical or verbal restraint” of dogs.
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“It’s not just that a dog came when I called it,” Trainor said. “We’ve raised the bar a little bit. The new definition is designed to prevent any uninvited contact and prevent entry of a dog onto private property without consent.”
If the dog wanders away or leaves your side, Trainor said, you are in violation of the new ordinance.
Owners will be fined $50 for a first offense with increasing fines for second and third offenses.
Another important change to the ordinance is a provision for the safety of assistance dogs.
The new ordinance makes it illegal for any person or dog to “harass, entice or interfere” with an assistance dog.
“We have an assistance dog owner who walks on the bike path a lot,” Trainor said. “If a dog leaves the owner’s side and interferes in any way with the work of that assistance dog, they are in violation.”
Other new aspects of the animal control ordinance include fines for not picking up after a dog that poops on public or private property, fines for cruelty to animals – ensuring that dogs live in clean and sanitary conditions – and fines for dog who disturb the quiet of the neighborhood by barking or howling.
The stricter animal control ordinance in Fraser has been years in the making, Trainor said.
An actual leash law was submitted to the Fraser Town Council last year but was voted down.
“We needed to define a few things, like ‘animal at large'” Trainor said. “We had a situation a couple years ago, where a dog was tied up outside of a restaurant. A woman walked by the dog, the dog went to the end of its chain and bit her.
“Under the ordinance, in the town of Fraser, that would now be a violation.”
Though the ordinance officially becomes law on Saturday, Trainor said law enforcement will go through an “educational period” before cracking down on violations.
“There will be some warnings issued at first to let people know what the new standard is,” Trainor said.
Trainor brought a similar ordinance to the Winter Park Town Council Tuesday night. The Winter Park animal control ordinance has not been updated since it was passed in 1985, Trainor said.
The Winter Park council passed the updated ordinance unanimously on its first reading. The second reading of the ordinance will be on the May 19 Winter Park Town Council agenda.