Vaccinations, tethering, licensing, and more help protect pets and people

Hillsborough County wants to keep you and your pets safe. The most cited County ordinances that protect your furry residents (and you!) range from dog and cat licensing to rabies vaccinations. Fines for ordinance violations are at least $100 and can increase into the thousands of dollars for multiple violations.

These are pet-related ordinances to know so you can avoid unintentionally violating them:

Dog-Tethering Ordinance

Unattended tethering (tying a dog up outside) is banned in Hillsborough County. If cited for a failure to properly confine, the minimum fine is $370. Tethering is only allowed when the dog owner:

  • Remains outside with the dog while it is tethered

  • Keeps the dog within sight while tethered

  • Uses a tether the size and weight that is necessary to safely restrain the dog and is connected to a buckle-type collar or body harness made of nylon or leather

Vaccination Ordinance

  • All pets older than four months must be up to date with their rabies vaccinations either every year or every three years depending on the vaccine. Follow up with your vet and make sure your vaccinations are up to date. If cited for failure to vaccinate, the minimum fine is $100.

Pet Registration Ordinance

  • All pets older than four months must have a registration tag that is renewed regularly, either every year or every three years depending on their rabies vaccine. Proof of a rabies vaccination is required in order to get a tag for your pet. Tags can be purchased through Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center or with your veterinarian. If cited for a failure to license, the minimum fine is $100.

Leash Ordinance

  • Any pet that is off its owner's property or in a public place, like a neighborhood sidewalk, farmers market, or outdoor café, must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and its owner must have control at all times. If cited, the minimum fine is $100.

Animal-at-Large Ordinance

  • A pet can't be off its owner's property running freely. If off its owner's property, a pet should always be on a leash no longer than 6 feet and under control by its owner. If cited for an animal-at-large, the minimum fine is $100.

Humane Treatment Ordinance

  • All pets are required to have access to shade, a shelter for bad weather, complete access to clean water and healthy food, and necessary medical care. If cited for failure to provide essentials or proper care, the minimum fine is $100.

Vicious Animals and Aggressive Dogs

  • Dogs are not allowed to approach or chase a person/pet in a way that makes them fear they will be bitten. Dogs are not allowed to bite or attack a person or other animal unprovoked. If cited for a vicious animal or aggressive dog, the fines start at $450.


  • Pets must have access to a three-dimensional structure having a roof, walls, and a floor, which is dry, sanitary, clean, weatherproof, pest-free, and made of durable material.

If you have questions about these ordinances or Animal Control, contact (813) 744-5660.

Image Caption: Two Dogs_NR
Posted: 2/13/2024, 6:10:12 PM