OKEECHOBEE – Okeechobee County Commissioners will consider changes to the animal control ordinance at their Oct. 26 meeting in the Historic Okeechobee County Courthouse, 304 N.W. Second Street. The meeting starts at 9 a.m.
According to the staff report, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office operates the Animal Control Department pursuant to an interlocal agreement with the Sheriff. An important Animal Control function is to impound animals, primarily dogs, that are found to be at large. Often the owners of impounded animals will contact Animal Control for the redemption of their impounded animals. The Animal Control staff has worked with the County Attorney's office to prepare the proposed ordinance, based on recent practical experiences that indicated that clarification was advisable. The proposed ordinance provides Animal Control staff with additional flexibility relating to the time periods for animal redemption, to address the unique circumstances of individual cases. The proposed ordinance also clarifies that the conditions specified in the code for the release of impounded animals (including proof of ownership, rabies vaccination, and payment of impoundment fees and boarding costs) are mandatory, and that failure to meet the required conditions can result in loss of the animal.
The current ordinance states animals (with the exception of feral cats) will be held for a minimum of 5 business days. This would change to “an appropriate number of days as determined by the animal control division based on the circumstances of the impoundment but in no event less than five business days.”
Feral cats without identification will be held two business days. All feral cats not redeemed by the owner within two business days may be humanely euthanized.
Impounded animals may be released to the owner who have met certain conditions:
Failure by the owner of an impounded animal to meet these conditions within the required time frame will result in the animal becoming the property of the county and may result in the animal being placed for adoption or disposed of in a humane manner.
Animal control may euthanize any untagged animal found in a state of pain and suffering. The waiting period does not apply to these animals.