Florida Statutes – Classification of Dogs as Dangerous – How Is a Dog Classified as a Dangerous Dog?

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Pursuant to Florida Statute, Title XLV, Chapter 767 – Damage by Dogs, Section 767.12 – Classification of dogs as dangerous, dogs that have inflicted injury or other harm upon others or another’s animal will have to undergo an investigation by any animal control officer or enforcement to determine whether or not the dog should be classified as dangerous. During the investigation, if the dog is not impounded, the dog must be humanely an safely confined by the owner in a securely fenced or otherwise enclosed area.

Within 14 days after a dog is deemed dangerous by a showing of sufficient cause, the owner of the dog must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog from the animal control authority where the dog resides – this certificate must be renewed annually. Certificates are only issued to persons 18-years-old and older and who present to the animal control authority sufficient evidence proving:
– a) the dog has had its rabies vaccination;
– b) the residence of has a proper enclosure for the dog and has warning signs at all entry points of the residence so as to provide notice to both children and adults of the dogs presence;
– c) permanent identification of the dog, either by tattoo or electronic implant.

Also, the owner of a dog classified as dangerous must notify the appropriate animal control authority when the dog has:
– a) become loose or unconfined;
– b) bitten a human being or another animal;
– c) been sold, given away or dies;
– d) been moved to another address.

When a dangerous dog is removed from its mandated enclosure the dog must be muzzled and restrained by a substantial leash or cord that is controlled by by a competent person.

Exemptions:

1. An investigation will not be conducted if a dog attacked a person while said person was unlawfully on the property of the dog or its owner, the dog was protecting its owner from unlawful attack, the dog was being provoked by said person or the dog was protecting a person other than its owner from unlawful attack.

2. Hunting dogs are also exempt so long as the dog is engaged in any legal hunt or training procedure.