Let’s talk about our furry ones, (wo)man’s best friend – dogs. We love and care for them daily, and in return they’re loyal, give us unconditional love and provide us with lots of laughs. For most of us, our pets are part of the family.
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe. They would protect you in a heartbeat!
One way you can keep your dog safe is by keeping them on a leash whenever they are outside of the house or fenced-in yard.
Florida doesn’t have a statewide Leash Law. Each county, city and municipality is allowed to make its own leash laws or ordinances.
Why is it a good idea to have your dog on a leash?
- So they don’t run off: Distractions are all over when we’re outside our home– we’re competing for our dog’s attention with small animals, cars, people and exciting new smells. If your dog takes off to explore something new, you could lose them. They may run away, injure themselves or injure/damage someone else’s pet or property.
- So you can control their movement: When your dog is outside of your home, you want to be able to guide them in the direction you want them to go. You are the leader, and you give them guidance.
- To protect them and others: Dogs are very aware of their surroundings, and they love exploring new areas. The leash gives you control over where this exploration takes them. For example, if your dog tries to go after another animal, you can bring them back to you. And if another dog is coming after your dog, you can guide them away.
- It might be the law in your county, town, city or municipality: If it is reported that you have violated the leash law, you might have to pay a fine. The fine could increase with each violation.
- You could be responsible for the injuries and damage caused by your dog if it bites a person or animal: If your dog isn’t on a leash and it bites a person or animal, you and your dog could be forced to pay– and not just with money. In some instances, depending on your dog’s breed, you could lose your dog. The requirements for when you’re responsible for the damages caused by your dog are outlined in Florida Statute 767.04.
Florida Statute 767.04 states:
Dog owner’s liability for damages to persons bitten.—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. History.—s. 1, ch. 25109, 1949; s. 1, ch. 93-13; s. 1155, ch. 97-102. Prevent or limit the liability and chances of your dog causing damage by having him/her on a leash.
On Leash Training Your Dog
Just a quick word on leash training your dog. Introduce your dog to a leash early. Let them know that it is a good thing. When they’re out in public make sure you’re leading the dog and not just following them. Show that you are in control but not threatening (yanking on the leash). It will make walking your furry friend a joy.
Our dogs are very important members of our families. We should always keep them safe and limit any danger to them or others.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, do some research first. Look up the law in your area about when and where your dog must be on a leash and what breeds are allowed in your home. Some residential areas and apartment complexes do not allow certain breeds of dogs.
Loving this furry one will change your life. Protect him/her as they will protect you.
Florida Statute 767.04, 767.01