Under Florida law a dog that has not beenÂ designated as dangerous will still be euthanized if it attacks and causes "severe injury or death to a human." Fla. Stat. Â§ 767.13
Recently, Broward County, FloridaÂ passed a new ordinanceÂ that states a dog not previously declared dangerous will be euthanized if it "causes the death of a domestic animal, while unprovoked and…off the owner’s or keeper’s property". Sec. 4-12(j)(2)Â Â
Does the Broward County ordinance conflict with state law?
Julie Roberts and her attorney, Jason Wandner, believe it does. Roberts has filed suitÂ challenging the ordinance as part of an effort to save the lives of herÂ dogs. Her four Siberian Huskies were confiscated and are being held pendingÂ resolution of a case in which at least one is accused of killing a neighbor’s dog.
The Huskies have no known bite history. They got out one day and encountered the neighbor’s dog. It is not known how the dog died, but animal control believes the death was caused by one or more of Roberts’ dogs.
"Our hearts go out to Ms. Roberts’ neighbor. She has lost not only a loving pet, but a part of her family. While we understand the grief associated with this misfortune, her loss does not justify the senseless slaughter of four Huskies that are just as loved, and who accidentally got away from their owner," said Wandner.Â "This was a tragic accident, and the law is just plain unfair.Â This could have happened to any pet owner and Broward County will be sending a terrible message to the community if an entire family of good dogs is killed because of an accident," Wandner continued.
Attorney Jan Michael Morris, representing the South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue, Inc., a local organization devoted to finding homes for abused, neglected and abandoned purebred Siberian Huskies, says that what Broward County is doing should scare any pet owner living within the county.
"This is not a case where a group of vicious dogs were routinely roaming the streets like a wild pack of animals. They were spayed, neutered, registered and kept indoors at all times," said Morris. "According to an elusive amendment, the first offense is no defense and now dogs can be euthanized, no matter how careful, attentive and responsible pet owners may be. Â We need pet owners to be aware that this law exists and that unless something is done, it will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on the lives of many pet owners who may end up in the same unfortunate situation as Ms. Roberts," pleaded Morris.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you would like to help in Roberts’ fight, log onto http://www.savethehuskies.com/ to learn more about her pet family and to sign the "Save the Huskies" petition.