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Florida Enforces Laws to Curb Dangerous Dog Attacks

Florida Enforces Laws to Curb Dangerous Dog Attacks

Florida Enforces Laws to Curb Dangerous Dog Attacks



Tallahassee, FL – Florida is taking a strong stand against dangerous dogs with new legislation aimed at curbing unprovoked attacks. The state has updated its laws with Chapter 767 of the Florida Statutes, titled "Damage by Dogs." This comprehensive law addresses the growing concerns over dangerous dogs that pose a threat to the safety of people and domestic animals.


Why This Matters


The Florida Legislature has recognized that unprovoked dog attacks are becoming a serious issue. These attacks are often linked to owners not properly confining, training, or controlling their dogs. The previous laws were not sufficient to handle this problem, prompting the need for more stringent and uniform regulations.


What is a Dangerous Dog?


Under the new law, a "dangerous dog" is defined as any dog that has:

  • Aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered a person on public or private property.

  • Severely injured or killed a domestic animal more than once while off the owner’s property.

  • Menacingly chased or approached someone in public without provocation, as confirmed by witnesses and investigated by authorities.


Key Terms Explained


  • Unprovoked: The victim was peacefully and lawfully present when the attack occurred.

  • Severe Injury: Injuries involving broken bones, multiple bites, or disfiguring lacerations that require medical treatment.

  • Proper Enclosure: A secure area where a dangerous dog can be confined, preventing it from escaping and protecting children and others from unauthorized access.


What Owners Need to Know


If a dog is classified as dangerous, the owner must:


  • Get a certificate of registration for the dog within 14 days and renew it annually.

  • Ensure the dog is confined in a secure enclosure and report any incidents of the dog escaping, biting someone, or being relocated.

  • Muzzle and restrain the dog when it is outside its enclosure.


Penalties for Non-Compliance


Owners who do not comply with these regulations face serious consequences. If a dangerous dog attacks again, the owner could be charged with a misdemeanor, and the dog may be confiscated and possibly destroyed. If the attack results in severe injury or death, the owner could face felony charges.


Exemptions and Local Laws


The law does include exemptions for police and service dogs. Additionally, local governments can adopt more restrictive measures to further protect the public, as long as these do not conflict with state laws.


The Bottom Line


Florida's new legislation is a proactive step to ensure the safety of its residents. By imposing strict guidelines and responsibilities on dog owners, the state aims to reduce the number of unprovoked dog attacks and create a safer environment for everyone.


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