Palm Beach County commissioners Tuesday set new rules animal control managers say will help stanch the flow from so-called “puppy mills.”
The vote was 6-0; Priscilla Taylor had had to leave to attend a luncheon.
Commissioners had approved the rules on a first vote Sept, 13, following a contentious debate.Animal rights advocates said it wouldn’t do enough. And the eight pet stores in the county that still could sell dogs and cats were for it; they would be the only game in town.
For Tuesday’s second vote, the county stuck with its stance to “grandfather” in existing pet stores that sell dogs and cats.
But it added a provision to yank permission for two major health or safety violations five years.
And it moved up the date the rules to take effect, to Oct. 1. Commissioner Melissa McKinlay had said at the Sept. 13 meeting that she worried entrepreneurs would rush to set up a pet store and qualify for the grandfather clause.
At a special “aggressive dog” hearing Wednesday morning, a magistrate refused to ratify Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control’s classification of the 4-year-old mail pit bull as “vicious,” which would have meant the death penalty.
Hurley had bit disabled veteran Lee Ash May 6 at Jupiter Farms Park, causing wounds to Ash’s scalp and forehead that required numerous stitches and staples.
Ash said Hurley but him after he took a football linebacker’s stance and knocked the dog down as it charged him and his 5-year-old Schnauzer, Prancer.
On Wednesday, Magistrate Earl Mallory said owner Ken Zaino was at fault when he let the dog off the leash for what Zaino said was “two seconds.” He said the county was at fault for not declaring the dog “dangerous” in 2013 after it bit two people less than six months apart. And Mallory said that while he’d have done the same things as Ash, Ash was at fault. He said it technically was Ash who attacked the dog, not the other way around.
Mallory instead instituted the “dangerous” classification, which will require the Zainos to, among other things, buy a special tag, post special signs, and muzzle the dog outside their property.