Escambia Considering New Animal Control Regulations

September 1, 2011

tether10.jpgEscambia County is considering new animal control laws, and animal control activists are lobbying against one portion of the new rules.

Under the county’s current law, no animal over six months old can be tied, chained or otherwise tethered outdoors unless the owner is located outdoors with the animal. But the new ordinance, if approved by the county commission, would allow an animal to be tethered if it is “a location on the property within the visual range of the primary structure”.

The ordinance also removes the requirement that the tethered animal be provided food, leaving language that it must have water, shelter and dry ground.

“A ‘primary structure’ can not monitor a chained dog. An unattended chained dog is at risk for the tether becoming tangled thus prohibiting the dog from reaching water, shelter or food; strangulation by the tether; attacks by roaming animals or abusive humans; attacks by biting insects, or subjected to dangerous weather conditions,” said  animal rights activist Laura Catterton of Cantonment.

She helped draft the current ordinance that the county commission may amend . As a volunteer for the Junior Humane Society and Escambia County Animal Services, she has spent a lot of time over the past five years photographing and documenting animal tethering abuse in Escambia County. Here photos were also viewed by the commissioners prior to their vote on the current ordinance bay in April 2010.

“The only safe way for a dog to be tethered is if a human is in visual range at all times to monitor the dog. Any chained dog left unattended is at risk for injury or death,” Catterton said.

To read the complete proposed animal control ordinance, click here. A public hearing on the ordinance will be held at 5:32 p.m. today in the Escambia County commission chambers. A public forum will also be held at 4:30 p.m.

Pictured: An example of animal tethering in Escambia County in a photo by Laura Catterton of Cantonment. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.


27 Responses to “Escambia Considering New Animal Control Regulations”

  1. peter on November 19th, 2016 4:07 pm

    we live on the Gibson in Molino and the barking dog issue is completely out of control. 2 separate groups of 3 or 4 in one group and 7 to 10 or more dogs in another bark loudly for hours on end all through the night and it has been going on for ever. Some weekends it sounds as though there is actually organized dog fighting going on out here into the early morning. It has become unbearable. It appears because of the aggressive nature of the owners the closest neighbors are staying silent. Hopefully this will change soon so we can get some decent sleep in this once quiet part of the county.

  2. Jane on September 3rd, 2011 1:51 pm

    Gee, I never knew having a dog could be so complicated! Leave it to our government and bad people to take a simple pleasure and make it complicated and take the enjoyment out of it!

  3. David Huie Green on September 3rd, 2011 11:13 am

    “Evil does not exist in the brains of animals,”

    Have you ever seen how a cat treats a mouse ere it kills it?

    David liking cats
    but facing facts

  4. David Huie Green on September 2nd, 2011 5:43 am

    “There ARE bad dogs. I do agree that dogs that don’t have owners are bad. I was referring to dogs that have owners.”

    That’s good. Just so you agree. I just question all blanket statements.

    All generalizations are wrong,
    Including this one.

    David for deportation of fire ants

  5. 429SCJ on September 2nd, 2011 5:40 am

    Evil does not exist in the brains of animals, it dwells in the hearts of women and men.

  6. Echo on September 1st, 2011 8:30 pm

    This law should stay in place. It is as simple as this: if you have to keep your dog tied up outside, then you shouldn’t have a dog!! Period. Get a goldfish or bird to keep you company inside your home. I have never understood why someone gets a dog and then lets it sit outside all day. Would you like to sit outside all day in the Florida heat tied up even if you have a “bowl of water” and “shade”? I think not. Be responsible – either take care of the dog properly or don’t get a dog at all.

  7. always bizzie on September 1st, 2011 8:26 pm

    There ARE bad dogs. I do agree that dogs that don’t have owners are bad. I was referring to dogs that have owners. Owners that don’t keep their animals safe. Owners/neighbors that refuse to train their dogs properly, refuse to keep their animals on their property, and allow their dogs to terrorize the neighborhood. We also have coyotes in our area. I have seen them in our yard. We are out in the country and that is to be expected. Neighborhood children should be able to walk to the bus without being attacked, ride their bikes without being chased, and even play in their own yard with their dogs without being attacked by a neighbor’s dogs. If it was up to me we would have a leash law county wide. I keep my dogs inside or in a fenced area in our back yard. Fences make good neighbors.

  8. Elizabeth on September 1st, 2011 4:57 pm

    In-Ground and Wireless fencing keeps most dogs safely contained. No fences, no digging, no tethers, no tangling. In-Ground fencing requires a small trench to bury the boundary wire. It will contain up to a 5-acre area, and you can even design the boundaries around gardens and places within your yard where you don’t want the dogs to go.
    The Wireless fencing is much easier than In-Ground–all you do is plug it in. The dogs have an adjustable circular area up to 90 feet in all directions to play and enjoy, and it’s portable.
    Our dog learned really quickly, and now he will not pass over the boundary without permission, even if the system is turned off! However, In-Ground and Wireless fencing will not keep uninvited dogs or animals from coming into your yard like a real fence.
    You can find the fencing systems at most pet stores–even Lowe’s in Pensacola has them.

  9. Patriot on September 1st, 2011 4:41 pm

    To dnutjob: Again, the “whole county” does NOT have a leash law, nor does Molino.

  10. Al on September 1st, 2011 3:03 pm

    “Interesting that they propose (on page 2) striking the part which excepts animals from being considered dangerous or vicious if any person or domestic animal is attacked while unlawfully upon the owner’s or keeper’s premises.

    If I read that rightly, animals are currently considered blameless if they protect the property of their owners from illegal actions. They will not be if this is passed.”

    Wow nice catch on that David H Green .. so now they want to go another step in coddling criminals – if my dog protects me from someone unlawfully at my house, he is considered vicious? Which generally leads to hefty fines and the euthanizing of the dog?

    Sometimes I wonder if the inmates have the keys to this place….

  11. bama54 on September 1st, 2011 2:27 pm

    let us face it. Most of the dogs I have seen tethered are dogs used for fighting. Most I have seen are Bull Dogs trained to fight. If you’re going to have a dog then you need a large yard with a fence period!!

  12. Sammie on September 1st, 2011 1:36 pm

    Take a ride thru downtown Pcola and note the dogs tied out 24/7 in the sun, water bowl kicked over, filthy, matted and covered with fleas… chains caught on trees, turned over wheelbarrows.. it’s disgusting.

    And they stay that way… on the end of a 10′ rope for all 12 or 15 years of their entire lives.


  13. David Huie Green on September 1st, 2011 12:08 pm

    “The WHOLE county has a leash law, it just isn’t as strictly enforced in the northern portions of the county.”

    It isn’t a matter of not being enforced, it is a matter that the law STATES that it only applies in areas designated as requiring “direct control.” This one doesn’t lay out where those are right now, but states that won’t change if adopted.

    From pages 8 and 9: Section 10-12 (b) Direct control shall apply only to the areas of the county which are designated by resolution of the board of county commissioners. The board of county commissioners is authorized to adopt by resolution areas designated as “direct control” pursuant to the procedures provided in this section. Any “direct control” resolutions existing as of the date of this chapter shall remain in full force and effect and shall not require reaffirmation by the board of county commissioners.
    (c) Resolutions adding certain areas to or deleting certain areas from the “direct control” area may be adopted on the board of county commissioners’ own motion, or may be adopted after receipt of a petition from residents of an area requesting that such area be added to or deleted from the “direct control” area. Any such petition shall be verified and shall be signed by at least 65 percent of the residents of the area which is to be added to or deleted from the “direct control” areas. Locations of residences or persons signing such petitions shall be distributed fairly about the area which is to be added to or deleted from the “direct control” area.

    David for skunks’ rights

  14. David Huie Green on September 1st, 2011 11:54 am

    Interesting that they propose (on page 2) striking the part which excepts animals from being considered dangerous or vicious if any person or domestic animal is attacked while unlawfully upon the owner’s or keeper’s premises.

    If I read that rightly, animals are currently considered blameless if they protect the property of their owners from illegal actions. They will not be if this is passed.

    David for watch snakes

  15. Janice on September 1st, 2011 11:42 am

    Not only should they make it illegal to chain a dog but they also need to start arresting these idiots that put them on back of trucks

  16. David Huie Green on September 1st, 2011 11:29 am

    “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners”

    Actually, there ARE some bad dogs. Not every dog has an owner and that dog is sometimes dangerous, therefore bad. (If we were in Australia, we’d think dingo, but there are ownerless, feral, wild dogs here too.)

    David for good possums

  17. Oversight on September 1st, 2011 11:19 am

    Section 10.5 (a)

    “If an owner refuses entrance to his premises to an animal control officer attempting to enforce this chapter, such officer shall contact the sheriffs office and proceed on the owner’s premises in the company of the sheriff or his deputy with such legal authority as is necessary to lawfully enter the owner’s premises for the purpose of enforcing this chapter.”

    Ok, BOCC, what is your definition of “premises?” Is this going to be considered a warrantless search of someone’s home? The sheriff should probably get some legal advice before going gang busters into someone’s homestead for animal control just because the county commission says it alright. I can see this as becoming a potential Fourth Amendment question and a huge liability for the county.

  18. always bizzie on September 1st, 2011 9:57 am

    Proudarmyparent, call your county commissioner and let them know what your wishes are. They work for you.
    If you can attend the public forum part of the meeting.

  19. dnutjob on September 1st, 2011 9:38 am

    The WHOLE county has a leash law, it just isnt as strictly enforced in the northern portions of the county. Have your dog cause some damage on someone elses property and get taken to court, you will find that Escambia county has a leash law.

  20. AL on September 1st, 2011 9:26 am

    I’d like to think all folks who chain their dogs are as responsible as you, proudarmyparent, however the great majority of chained dogs are neglected, abused or both. Drive around and you are much more likely to see a dog chained in an area where it never leaves that circle.
    Unfortunately I just don’t see a way for the 2 sides to meet in the middle, so as someone who has seen the aftermath of a chained dog getting tangled and strangling itself to death, I have to say don’t chain dogs.

  21. ProudArmyParent on September 1st, 2011 9:14 am

    ABOUT TIME THIS LAW GOT RECONSIDERED! Why punish the whole county for some that do not take care of their animals. My dogs loved it outside, but I can’t be out there all day long. They loved watching the traffic go by, and they were a great help keeping track of who is in the area. You say get a pen. Well a pen does not help because they also like to dig, and they are out of a pen in no time at all! I love my dogs, they are company to me when my family is away, they always have water, kibble, and a clean house. In the colder months they would love to burrow into the fresh hay provided to them. They were are mistreated, God help anyone that would hurt them, because they are my babies. But, to keep them kenneled all the time is mistreatment in it’s self. This was a crazy law! Ms Catterton, JUST BECAUSE A DOG IS TETHERED DOES NOT MEAN HE IS MISTREATED! Like the Cesspool law, this law needs to be FLUSHED also!

  22. always bizzie on September 1st, 2011 8:47 am

    No, Molino does not have a leash law. If you will read the link posted in this story you it talks about direct control, the definition and how that pertains to you. Every resident of Escambia county needs to read these regulations and understand your rights as an animal owner or as a person with animal problems. The cut off for the leash law is Well Line Road. Defintions are clearly laid out in this ordinance amendment. These changes are needed. I learned what my rights were and what my neighborhood’s rights were after my son was attacked by a neighbors dog last year. Don’t learn what is required after the fact like I did. Is this ordinance perfect? No. But it is a start and it helps protect the animals and victims of bad animal owners. Notice I did not say bad dogs. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. By the way Billy, this ordinance does address the animal waste issue.

  23. Michelle on September 1st, 2011 8:24 am

    I used to live in an area where we not allowed to put a fence around our property.
    so lease explain what our we suppose to do to keep our animals safe from roaming?

  24. Patriot on September 1st, 2011 8:21 am

    Molino does NOT have a “leash law”. “Leash” and “tether” are two different things.

  25. RetiredLeo on September 1st, 2011 7:20 am

    The leash law is a county ordinance. Since Molino is in Escambia County then they have a leash law.

  26. mary on September 1st, 2011 5:17 am

    Does Molino have a leash law???

  27. billy on September 1st, 2011 12:36 am

    They need to make folks pick up the waste from their nasty varments.

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