Florida’s perception and management of what constitutes a ‘dangerous dog’ has undergone a significant shift with the recent enactment of a new law. As experts in dog bite injury law, we at KMW Legal are here to guide dog owners, public housing authorities, and dog bite victims through the implications of this updated legislation.

Understanding the Changes in Florida’s Dangerous Dog Law

Effective October 1, 2023, the new dangerous dog law in Florida has brought about substantial changes. Previously, local entities could impose restrictions based on a dog’s breed, size, or weight. This often included bans on breeds like pit bulls. However, under the new law, local governments and public housing authorities can no longer declare a dog dangerous based solely on these criteria. The law also nullifies previous ordinances established before 1990 that targeted specific dog breeds. It’s important to note, though, that private landlords, homeowners’ associations, and insurance companies may still enforce breed restrictions.

Identifying Dangerous Dogs in Florida

Florida State Statute 767 outlines what characteristics define a dog as dangerous. These include:

  • Dogs that have aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered people
  • Dogs that have repeatedly caused severe injury or death to other animals off the owner’s property
  • Dogs that have exhibited threatening behavior towards people in public

Victims of attacks by dogs deemed dangerous under these criteria may have legal recourse. Our attorneys at KMW Legal can assist in evaluating your case and exploring compensation options.

The Status of Pit Bulls and Other Breeds

Pit bulls, often labeled as a dangerous breed, are at the center of many breed-specific legislations. Prior to the new law, Florida was part of the 30 states identified by the ASPCA as allowing breed-specific legislation. The new law, however, removes the ability of local entities to classify dogs as dangerous based on their breed.

Responsibilities of Owners of Dangerous Dogs in Florida

The updated law emphasizes the accountability of owners of dogs classified as dangerous. Requirements include:

  • Registration of the dog with local authorities
  • Secure confinement of the dog
  • Clear signage warning of a dangerous dog on the property
  • Liability insurance coverage for potential injuries caused by the dog
  • Use of a muzzle and leash when the dog is outside its enclosure
  • Always ensuring the dog is under the control of a responsible adult

Failure to adhere to these requirements can lead to legal consequences and heightened liability for the owner in case of an incident.

Legal Support for Dog Bite Victims in Florida

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite in Florida or have questions about how the new law impacts you, KMW Legal is here to help. Our experienced personal injury lawyers understand the nuances of Florida’s new dangerous dog law and are ready to assist you in navigating your claim. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your specific case and understand your rights and options under this new legal landscape.

For expert legal guidance and support, reach out to KMW Legal in Jupiter, FL. Our team is dedicated to providing clear, knowledgeable assistance on all matters related to Florida’s dangerous dog law and dog bite injury claims.