Pitbulls and certain other canine breeds have long been perceived as inherently dangerous dogs. This is why certain states, such as Florida, have enacted laws allowing specific entities to create restrictions for owners of such breeds. However, a new dangerous dog law was recently passed in Florida, ending restrictions imposed by these entities on particular dog breeds.
Dog owners and others in specific Florida communities must know the state’s new dangerous dog law. If you are unsure of how you may be affected by this new law, a Florida dog bite injury lawyer from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can answer whatever questions you have. We can help dog owners, public housing authorities, and dog bite victims understand their rights under Florida’s new dangerous dog law.
What are the changes to Florida’s dangerous dog law?
Before October 1, 2023, counties and municipalities in Florida were permitted to prohibit dogs from their premises based on their weight and size. Those entities were also allowed to ban certain breeds considered dangerous, like pit bulls, from residing in their areas if they adopted such ordinances before October 1, 1990. These entities were allowed to arbitrarily restrict dog owners from having dogs over a specific size, weight, and breed.
Florida adopted a new dangerous dog law that went into effect on October 1, 2023. This new law prevents local governments and public housing authorities from adopting policies or ordinances that designate a dog as dangerous based solely on its breed, size, or weight. It also removed the grandfather clause for the ordinances created before 1990. Private landlords, homeowners’ associations, and insurance companies can still ban dangerous dog breeds in Florida.
What dogs are on Florida’s dangerous dog list?
Regardless of breed, certain dogs are considered dangerous under Florida law. Florida State Statute 767 specifies the characteristics of what classifies a dog as difficult. The following are on the dangerous dog list in Florida:
- One that has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered a person on public or private property
- One that has severely injured or killed a domestic animal off its owner’s property more than once
- One that has chased or menacingly approached a person in public
Individuals who have been bitten or attacked by a dangerous dog in Florida may be entitled to sue the negligent owner for their injuries. If this applies to you, a dog bite injury attorney in Florida can review the circumstances of your dog bite accident and determine if you can obtain compensation. All dog owners are liable for damages suffered by a person bitten, regardless of the dog’s bite history.
Are pit bulls illegal in Florida?
Pitbulls are primarily viewed as a dangerous dog breed, leading to many states enacting laws that regulate or ban them to decrease the number of dog attacks. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 30 states allow breed-specific legislation. Before Florida’s new dangerous dog law, Florida was one of those states; however, under its new law, local governments and public housing authorities can no longer adopt ordinances designating dogs as dangerous based solely on their breed, size, or weight.
What are owners of dangerous dog breeds in Florida required to do?
Under Statute 767, the Florida legislature addresses its contention that dog attacks are becoming a growing problem. It says that specific requirements are necessary to ensure dangerous dog owners are held responsible for the confinement and training of their animals.
Owners of dangerous dogs are required to take the following actions:
- Register their dog with local authorities
- Securely confine their dog
- Display a prominent sign at the entrance of their property warning visitors of the presence of a dangerous dog.
- Obtain liability insurance to cover injuries caused by their dog
- Muzzle and leash their dog when outside the dog’s enclosure
- Keep their dog under the control of a responsible adult
Owners of dangerous dogs in Florida must take these precautions to reduce the risk of future incidents involving their animals. Regardless of what safeguards have been taken, the dog’s owner is liable for injuries caused by the animal. If you have suffered injuries from a dog bite, you may be eligible to recover damages in a legal claim.
Who should I call if a dog bite in Florida has injured me?
If a dog bite in Florida has injured you or you have questions about the state’s new dangerous dog law, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Take action now and call a dog bite injury attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990. We are knowledgeable about Florida’s new dangerous dog law and how it can affect your dog bite claim. Schedule your free consultation today to discuss the details of your unique case.