These Florida statutes outline the state's dog provisions, which mainly cover dangerous dog/dog bite laws. The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person's negligence contributed to the biting incident. If a dog that has previously been declared dangerous attacks or bites a person or a domestic animal without provocation, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. The dog will be impounded for a period of ten days during which time the owner of the dog may request a hearing.
(Does not contain laws related to pari-mutuel wagering/dog racing.)
Title XLV. Torts. Chapter 767. Damage by Dogs.
767.01 . Dog owner's liability for damages to persons, domestic animals, or livestock
767.02 . Sheep-killing dogs not to roam about
767.03 . Good defense for killing dog
767.04 . Dog owner's liability for damages to persons bitten
767.05 . Owner's liability for damages by dog to dairy cattle
767.07 . Interpretation
767.10 . Legislative findings
767.11 . Definitions
767.12 . Classification of dogs as dangerous; certification of registration; notice and hearing requirements; confinement of animal; exemption; appeals; unlawful acts
767.13 . Attack or bite by dangerous dog; penalties; confiscation; destruction
767.14 . Additional local restrictions authorized
767.15 . Other provisions of chapter 767 not superseded
767.16 . Bite by a police or service dog; exemption from quarantine
Title XL. Real and Personal Property (Chapters 689-724). Chapter 705. Lost or Abandoned Property.
705.19 . Abandonment of animals by owner; procedure for handling
823.041 . Disposal of bodies of dead animals; penalty
823.15 . Dogs and cats released from animal shelters or animal control agencies; sterilization requirement
Title XLV. Torts. Chapter 767. Damage by Dogs.
Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of "domestic animal" and "livestock" as provided by s. 585.01.
Rev.St.1892, § 2341; Laws 1901, c. 4979; Gen.St.1906, § 3142; Rev.Gen.St.1920, § 4957; Comp.Gen.Laws 1927, § 7044; Laws 1994, c. 94-339, § 1.
It is unlawful for any dog known to have killed sheep to roam about over the country unattended by a keeper. Any such dog found roaming over the country unattended shall be deemed a run-about dog, and it is lawful to kill such dog.
Laws 1893, c. 4185, § 1; Gen.St.1906, § 3143; Rev.Gen.St.1920, § 4958; Comp.Gen.Laws 1927, § 7045.
In any action for damages or of a criminal prosecution against any person for killing or injuring a dog, satisfactory proof that said dog had been or was killing any animal included in the definitions of "domestic animal" and "livestock" as provided by s. 585.01 shall constitute a good defense to either of such actions.
Laws 1901, c. 4978, § 1; Gen.St.1906, § 3144; Rev.Gen.St.1920, § 4959; Comp.Gen.Laws 1927, § 7046; Laws 1979, c. 79-315, § 1; Laws 1994, c. 94- 339, § 2.
The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person's negligence contributed to the biting incident. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words "Bad Dog." The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
Laws 1949, c. 25109, § 1; Laws 1993, c. 93-13, § 1. Amended by Laws 1997, c. 97-102, § 1155, eff. July 1, 1997.
An owner or keeper of any dog that kills, wounds, or harasses any dairy cattle shall be jointly and severally liable to the owner of such dairy cattle for all damages done by such dog; and it is not necessary to prove notice to or knowledge by any such owner or keeper of such dog that the dog was mischievous or disposed to kill or worry any dairy cattle.
Laws 1979, c. 79-315, § 2; Laws 1981, c. 81-259, § 482.
Section 767.05 is supplemental to all other laws relating to dogs not expressly referred to therein and shall not be construed to modify, repeal, or in any way affect any part or provision of any such laws not expressly repealed therein or to prevent municipalities from prohibiting, licensing, or regulating the running at large of dogs within their respective limits by law or ordinance now or hereafter provided.
Laws 1979, c. 79-315, § 2.
The Legislature finds that dangerous dogs are an increasingly serious and widespread threat to the safety and welfare of the people of this state because of unprovoked attacks which cause injury to persons and domestic animals; that such attacks are in part attributable to the failure of owners to confine and properly train and control their dogs; that existing laws inadequately address this growing problem; and that it is appropriate and necessary to impose uniform requirements for the owners of dangerous dogs.
Laws 1990, c. 90-180, § 1.
As used in this act, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(1) “Dangerous dog” means any dog that according to the records of the appropriate authority:
(a) Has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;
(b) Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner's property; or
(c) Has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, provided that such actions are attested to in a sworn statement by one or more persons and dutifully investigated by the appropriate authority.
(2) “Unprovoked” means that the victim who has been conducting himself or herself peacefully and lawfully has been bitten or chased in a menacing fashion or attacked by a dog.
(3) “Severe injury” means any physical injury that results in broken bones, multiple bites, or disfiguring lacerations requiring sutures or reconstructive surgery.
(4) “Proper enclosure of a dangerous dog” means, while on the owner's property, a dangerous dog is securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top to prevent the dog from escaping over, under, or through the structure and shall also provide protection from the elements.
(5) “Animal control authority” means an entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units and authorized by them to enforce the animal control laws of the city, county, or state. In those areas not served by an animal control authority, the sheriff shall carry out the duties of the animal control authority under this act.
(6) “Animal control officer” means any individual employed, contracted with, or appointed by the animal control authority for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this act or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensure of animals, control of animals, or seizure and impoundment of animals and includes any state or local law enforcement officer or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments that involve the seizure and impoundment of any animal.
(7) “Owner” means any person, firm, corporation, or organization possessing, harboring, keeping, or having control or custody of an animal or, if the animal is owned by a person under the age of 18, that person's parent or guardian.
Laws 1990, c. 90-180, § 2; Laws 1993, c. 93-13, § 2. Amended by Laws 1997, c. 97-102, § 1156, eff. July 1, 1997; Laws 2011, c. 2011-211, § 1, eff. July 1, 2011.
(1)(a) An animal control authority shall investigate reported incidents involving any dog that may be dangerous and shall, if possible, interview the owner and require a sworn affidavit from any person, including any animal control officer or enforcement officer, desiring to have a dog classified as dangerous. Any animal that is the subject of a dangerous dog investigation, that is not impounded with the animal control authority, shall be humanely and safely confined by the owner in a securely fenced or enclosed area pending the outcome of the investigation and resolution of any hearings related to the dangerous dog classification. The address of where the animal resides shall be provided to the animal control authority. No dog that is the subject of a dangerous dog investigation may be relocated or ownership transferred pending the outcome of an investigation or any hearings related to the determination of a dangerous dog classification. In the event that a dog is to be destroyed, the dog shall not be relocated or ownership transferred.
(b) A dog shall not be declared dangerous if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on the property or, while lawfully on the property, was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or its owner or a family member. No dog may be declared dangerous if the dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.
(c) After the investigation, the animal control authority shall make an initial determination as to whether there is sufficient cause to classify the dog as dangerous and shall afford the owner an opportunity for a hearing prior to making a final determination. The animal control authority shall provide written notification of the sufficient cause finding, to the owner, by registered mail, certified hand delivery, or service in conformance with the provisions of chapter 48 relating to service of process. The owner may file a written request for a hearing within 7 calendar days from the date of receipt of the notification of the sufficient cause finding and, if requested, the hearing shall be held as soon as possible, but not more than 21 calendar days and no sooner than 5 days after receipt of the request from the owner. Each applicable local governing authority shall establish hearing procedures that conform to this paragraph.
(d) Once a dog is classified as a dangerous dog, the animal control authority shall provide written notification to the owner by registered mail, certified hand delivery or service, and the owner may file a written request for a hearing in the county court to appeal the classification within 10 business days after receipt of a written determination of dangerous dog classification and must confine the dog in a securely fenced or enclosed area pending a resolution of the appeal. Each applicable local governing authority must establish appeal procedures that conform to this paragraph.
(2) Within 14 days after a dog has been classified as dangerous by the animal control authority or a dangerous dog classification is upheld by the county court on appeal, the owner of the dog must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog from the animal control authority serving the area in which he or she resides, and the certificate shall be renewed annually. Animal control authorities are authorized to issue such certificates of registration, and renewals thereof, only to persons who are at least 18 years of age and who present to the animal control authority sufficient evidence of:
(a) A current certificate of rabies vaccination for the dog.
(b) A proper enclosure to confine a dangerous dog and the posting of the premises with a clearly visible warning sign at all entry points that informs both children and adults of the presence of a dangerous dog on the property.
(c) Permanent identification of the dog, such as a tattoo on the inside thigh or electronic implantation.
The appropriate governmental unit may impose an annual fee for the issuance of certificates of registration required by this section.
(3) The owner shall immediately notify the appropriate animal control authority when a dog that has been classified as dangerous:
(a) Is loose or unconfined.
(b) Has bitten a human being or attacked another animal.
(c) Is sold, given away, or dies.
(d) Is moved to another address.
Prior to a dangerous dog being sold or given away, the owner shall provide the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner to the animal control authority. The new owner must comply with all of the requirements of this act and implementing local ordinances, even if the animal is moved from one local jurisdiction to another within the state. The animal control officer must be notified by the owner of a dog classified as dangerous that the dog is in his or her jurisdiction.
(4) It is unlawful for the owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under control of a competent person. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but will prevent it from biting any person or animal. The owner may exercise the dog in a securely fenced or enclosed area that does not have a top, without a muzzle or leash, if the dog remains within his or her sight and only members of the immediate household or persons 18 years of age or older are allowed in the enclosure when the dog is present. When being transported, such dogs must be safely and securely restrained within a vehicle.
(5) Hunting dogs are exempt from the provisions of this act when engaged in any legal hunt or training procedure. Dogs engaged in training or exhibiting in legal sports such as obedience trials, conformation shows, field trials, hunting/retrieving trials, and herding trials are exempt from the provisions of this act when engaged in any legal procedures. However, such dogs at all other times in all other respects shall be subject to this and local laws. Dogs that have been classified as dangerous shall not be used for hunting purposes.
(6) This section does not apply to dogs used by law enforcement officials for law enforcement work.
(7) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a noncriminal infraction, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500.
Laws 1990, c. 90-180, § 3; Laws 1993, c. 93-13, § 3; Laws 1994, c. 94-339, § 3. Amended by Laws 1997, c. 97-102, § 1157, eff. July 1, 1997.
(1) If a dog that has previously been declared dangerous attacks or bites a person or a domestic animal without provocation, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. In addition, the dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time, or impounded and held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under s. 767.12, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under s. 767.12. The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during any appeal procedure.
(2) If a dog that has not been declared dangerous attacks and causes severe injury to or death of any human, the dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time or held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under s. 767.12, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under s. 767.12. The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during any appeal procedure. In addition, if the owner of the dog had prior knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities, yet demonstrated a reckless disregard for such propensities under the circumstances, the owner of the dog is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) If a dog that has previously been declared dangerous attacks and causes severe injury to or death of any human, the owner is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. In addition, the dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time or held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under s. 767.12, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under s. 767.12. The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during any appeal procedure.
(4) If the owner files a written appeal under s. 767.12 or this section, the dog must be held and may not be destroyed while the appeal is pending.
(5) If a dog attacks or bites a person who is engaged in or attempting to engage in a criminal activity at the time of the attack, the owner is not guilty of any crime specified under this section.
Laws 1990, c. 90-180, § 4; Laws 1993, c. 93-13, § 4; Laws 1994, c. 94-339, § 4.
Nothing in this act shall limit any local government from placing further restrictions or additional requirements on owners of dangerous dogs or developing procedures and criteria for the implementation of this act, provided that no such regulation is specific to breed and that the provisions of this act are not lessened by such additional regulations or requirements. This section shall not apply to any local ordinance adopted prior to October 1, 1990.
Laws 1990, c. 90-180, § 5.
Nothing in this act shall supersede chapter 767, Florida Statutes 1989.
Laws 1990, c. 90-180, § 6.
Any dog that is owned, or the service of which is employed, by a law enforcement agency, or any dog that is used as a service dog for blind, hearing impaired, or disabled persons, and that bites another animal or human is exempt from any quarantine requirement following such bite if the dog has a current rabies vaccination that was administered by a licensed veterinarian.
Laws 1991, c. 91-228, § 1.
Title XL. Real and Personal Property (Chapters 689-724). Chapter 705. Lost or Abandoned Property.
(1) Any animal placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian or bona fide boarding kennel for treatment, boarding, or other care, which shall be abandoned by its owner or the owner's agent for a period of more than 10 days after written notice is given to the owner or the owner's agent at her or his last known address may be turned over to the custody of the nearest humane society or dog pound in the area for disposal as such custodian may deem proper.
(2) The giving of notice to the owner, or the agent of the owner, of such animal by the licensed veterinarian or kennel operator as provided in subsection (1) shall relieve the veterinarian or kennel operator and any custodian to whom such animal may be given of any further liability for disposal. Such procedure by a licensed veterinarian shall not constitute grounds for disciplinary procedure under chapter 474.
(3) For the purpose of this section, the term "abandonment" means to forsake entirely or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of an animal by its owner or the owner's agent. Such abandonment shall constitute the relinquishment of all rights and claim by the owner to such animal.
Laws 1979, c. 79-228, § 1; Laws 1981, c. 81-157, § 1. Amended by Laws 1997, c. 97-102, § 792, eff. July 1, 1997.
(1) Any owner, custodian, or person in charge of domestic animals, upon the death of such animals due to disease, shall dispose of the carcasses of such animals by burning or burying at least 2 feet below the surface of the ground; provided, however, nothing in this section shall prohibit the disposal of such animal carcasses to rendering companies licensed to do business in this state.
(2) It is unlawful to dispose of the carcass of any domestic animal by dumping such carcass on any public road or right-of-way, or in any place where such carcass can be devoured by beast or bird.
(3) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(4) For the purposes of this act, the words "domestic animal" shall include any equine or bovine animal, goat, sheep, swine, dog, cat, poultry, or other domesticated beast or bird.
Laws 1961, c. 61-359, §§ 1 to 4; Laws 1971, c. 71-136, § 936; Laws 1974, c. 74-383, § 66; Laws 1975, c. 75-24, § 1; Laws 1975, c. 75-298, § 41.
Amended 2013; New Text:
(1) The Legislature has determined that the importation of dogs and cats into, and the uncontrolled breeding of dogs and cats in, this state pose risks to the well-being of dogs and cats, the health of humans and animals, and the agricultural interests in this state. Importation of dogs and cats from outside the United States could result in the transmission of diseases that have been eradicated in the United States to dogs and cats, other animals, and humans living in this state. Uncontrolled breeding results in the birth of many more puppies and kittens than are needed to provide pet animals to new owners or to replace pet animals that have died or become lost. This leads to many dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens being unwanted, becoming strays and suffering privation and death, being impounded and destroyed at great expense to the community, and constituting a public nuisance and public health hazard. It is therefore declared to be the public policy of the state that every feasible means be used to reduce the incidence of birth of unneeded and unwanted puppies and kittens. Determining which programs result in improved adoption rates and in reduced euthanasia rates for animals in shelters and animal control agencies is crucial to this effort.
(2)(a) Each public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane organization or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision, shall prepare and maintain the following records and make them available for public inspection and dissemination for the 3 preceding years. The following data will be available on a monthly basis commencing July 31, 2013:
1. The total number of dogs and cats taken in by the animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency, divided into species, in the following categories:
a. Surrendered by owner;
e. Transferred from within Florida;
f. Transferred into or imported from out of the state; and
g. Born in shelter.
Species other than domestic cats and domestic dogs should be recorded as “other.”
2. The disposition of all animals taken in by a public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision, divided into species. These data must include dispositions by:
b. Reclamation by owner;
c. Death in kennel;
d. Euthanasia at the owner's request;
e. Transfer to another public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision;
g. Released in field/Trapped, Neutered, Released (TNR);
h. Lost in care/missing animals or records; and
i. Ending inventory/shelter count at end of the last day of the month.
3. A public or private animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society, or by a county, municipality, or other incorporated political subdivision which routinely euthanizes dogs based on size or breed alone must provide a written statement of such policy. Dogs euthanized due to breed, temperament, or size must be recorded and included in the calculation of the total euthanasia percentage.
(b) Records of a public animal shelter, humane organization, or animal control agency operated by a humane society must be made available to the public pursuant to provisions in chapter 119.
(3) In furtherance of this policy, provision shall be made for the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released for adoption from any public or private animal shelter or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, city, or other incorporated political subdivision, by either:
(a) Providing sterilization by a licensed veterinarian before relinquishing custody of the animal; or
(b) Entering into a written agreement with the adopter or purchaser guaranteeing that sterilization will be performed within 30 days or prior to sexual maturity. The shelter or animal control agency shall require a sufficient deposit from the adopter or purchaser, which deposit shall be refundable upon presentation to the shelter or animal control agency of written evidence by the veterinarian performing the sterilization that the animal has been sterilized. The deposit or donation may be based upon recommended guidelines established by the Florida Federation of Humane Societies. Failure by either party to comply with the provisions of this paragraph shall be a noncriminal violation as defined in s. 775.08(3), punishable by a fine, forfeiture, or other civil penalty, and, in addition thereto, the deposit or donation shall be forfeited to the shelter or animal control agency. Any legal fees or court costs used for the enforcement of this paragraph are the responsibility of the adopter. Upon the request of a licensed veterinarian, and for a valid reason, the shelter or animal control agency shall extend the time limit within which the animal must be sterilized.
(4) All costs of sterilization pursuant to this section shall be paid by the prospective adopter unless otherwise provided for by ordinance of the local governing body, with respect to animal control agencies or shelters operated or subsidized by a unit of local government, or provided for by the humane society governing body, with respect to an animal control agency or shelter operated solely by the humane society and not subsidized by public funds.
Laws 1980, c. 80-87, §§ 1 to 3. Amended by Laws 2013, c. 2013-32, § 1, eff. July 1, 2013.