Dog trainers in Tampa will now have to be licensed to help dog owners train their dogs under a new ordinance that will be voted on in hillsborough county according to Tampa Bay Times.

Regulation ordinance

The regulations will be the first for dog trainers known as the Truth in Training Ordinance. Trainers must provide their credentials to the county for publication and must have or be able to obtain liability insurance of $100,000. Trainers must also undergo background checks under the federal and local requirements. Any trainer who has been convicted of animal abuse or neglect will have their license, and consequently, their ability to train other dogs revoked.

Ordinance opponents criticized that the new proposition will hurt small business owners and put heavy restrictions on dog trainers. Kendall Duncan, who owns the Canine Cabana, told Tampa Bay Times it would give dog owners a false sense of security.

The new ordinance was created to prohibit trainers from using techniques or practices that would be considered abusive to animals. The trainer and the dog owner would have to agree on a type of training to prevent those trainers from using forceful tactics on pets without the dog owners permission. Those who are exempt from this ordinance include veterinarians, service dog trainers, and organizations that run non-profit shelters or use volunteers.

Ordinance rules

The rules in the ordinance state that, if four offenses are recorded against a trainer, it would mean suspension of the trainer's license.

If an animal is harmed during any training practice, the entire business is shut down immediately. The reason behind the new rules was a Shih-Tzu owner in Land O’ Lakes who noticed her dog has severely injured during a training routine two days ago at a pet daycare near the dog owner’s house.

"The trainers I am working with want regulation. They're all for it. They just want it to be done so it's meaningful," she told Tampa Bay Times.

County Commissioner Al Higginbotham expressed, in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, that the new ordinance would provide a window into what the dog owner wants from the training and what the trainer can provide for the owner in a form of tools and building blocks to continue the training after it has been completed.

It took ten months of planning the ordinance to be reviewed and sent to the commission for approval. It was a difficult task because no other branch of commissions has the same legislation already developed and used in their own respective counties.