Florida Dog Attack Laws

Florida dog attack aggressive dog Miami Dade Animal Services

When Dogs Attack: Florida dog attack laws and what to expect if your dog is labeled dangerous

Has your dog been labeled aggressive? Even the sweetest, well-trained dog can be triggered to act out with aggression. Triggers for aggressive acts can vary greatly and can even be difficult for a dog owner to predict or prevent, but knowing your dog and giving them proper training and socialization goes a long way in setting them up for success.

Why do dogs attack?

Toy aggression, lack of socialization, restraint frustration, and owner protection are just some of the many things that can cause your dog to lash out. We encourage pet owners to not let the fear of potential issues stop them from setting up puppy play dates with other well-behaved dogs or taking them on walks through town, but we do want pet owners to be prepared in the instance one of these unfortunate situations occur. 

Preventing dog attacks

Miami-Dade County has strict leash laws, so in most social situations an owner should have control of their pups. However, there are moments at the dog park, in our backyards, at the dog beach, and other loose leash outing where aggression can rear its ugly head. In most instances a dog’s aggressive behavior can be rationalized by some negative trigger that occurred in the moments prior to the attack and in those instances owners in both parties address the issue, remove the dogs, check for injuries, and move on. However, if the incident is severe enough, further action may be taken or even required by law.

What happens when a dog bites another dog?

In Florida, the owner of the dog that bites another dog or person is held fully responsible. A percentage of that responsibility will be waived if the victim was partially responsible for provoking the attack. Dog bite complaints must be reported to animal services within 30 days of the incident to be open for investigation. If the dog is found to have aggressively bitten, attacked, severely injured, or chased a human or domestic animal without being provoked, it may be declared a “dangerous animal”.

Dangerous dogs in Miami-Dade County can be reported by calling 3-1-1.

Any complaint on a dog that is filed goes under investigation by Miami-Dade Animal Services. Miami-Dade Animal Services will question the owner and any person(s) involved and visit the owners’ property. During investigation the dog may or may not be confiscated, depending on the severity of the attack and the likelihood the dog could attack again. If a confiscation does occur, the dog will be taken into Animal Services’ care where it will be monitored and held throughout the entirety of the investigation.

If Animal Services declares a dog as dangerous, a written notification must be sent to the dog owner. If the owner wishes to request a hearing, they must submit a written request within seven days. A hearing will be held as soon as possible, typically within 21 days. At the end of investigation or hearing, if the dog is deemed dangerous, the dog will either be returned to the owner and registered annually as a dangerous dog or it will be humanely euthanized if it is considered too dangerous.

My dog has been declared dangerous, now what?

Once an animal is declared dangerous, if euthanization is not issued, the owner has 14 days to register their dog to Animal Service and they must continue to register their dog annually. For first time and annual registration the owner must provide a number of documentations and picture evidence to prove the dog is legal and secure. You will need:

  • Proof of current rabies vaccination
  • Proof of current Miami-Dade County tags
  • Proof of microchip and registration of microchip
  • Proof of sterilization
  • Photos of the dog’s enclosure
  • Photos of all entry points, showing proper warning signs of a dangerous dog on site

Source: http://www.miamidade.gov/animals/dangerous-dog-investigation.asp

When is your dog not considered dangerous in Florida:

A dog will not be considered a dangerous dog if the attack was fully provoked by the victim or another dog. Also, a dog will not be considered dangerous if it was protecting itself, a human, or if someone was unlawfully trespassing on the property the dog resides. A dog can only be considered dangerous if it attacks a human or another domestic animal; wildlife does not count.

We often get dogs to not only be our companions but to be our defenders and protectors. These are instincts that often come very naturally to them and unfortunately, they are instincts that can lead them to negative interactions when provoked. As good pet owners, it is our responsibility to limit these negative interactions and opportunities for our dogs to lash out. Keep a watchful eye on your dog, follow the leash laws, provide your dog with adequate exercise, socialize your dog frequently, and provide your dog with the best training possible! 

For Further Reading:




Hurricane Relief: Donation Drive for the Pets of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico donations for pets

Hurricane Relief: Donation Drive for the Pets of Puerto Rico

Equipaws Pet Services has joined with several pet care companies in Miami to collect donations for the pets of Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricanes wiped out the island’s infrastructure.

We will be dividing donations between two rescues. They will be picking up the donations themselves which is key:

1) Santuario de Animales San Francisco de Asís, Inc.

2) El Foster Club.

All donations can be brought to our South Miami office with the bar codes blacked out. All donations need to be boxed and labeled “Donations.” The rescues in Puerto Rico are asking for cages, crates, food, medicine, bedding, etc.

If you purchase food and supplies they will be taken to Puerto Rico to those two contacts. Take a look at this list for ideas: https://www.amazon.com/…/1TQQQATXAQ2…/ref=cm_sw_em_r_d_g__wb
Anything you order on this list will be shipped to our mailbox.

How to drop off donations:

You can drop off donations physically at our South Miami office, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., from Monday through Saturday. If we are not in (pups must be walked!), please leave the donation at our door.

Equipaws Pet Services
7210 Red Road, STE 203
Miami, FL 33143

You can also physically drop off donations at:
Applause Your Paws, Inc.
4423 SW 74 Ave
Miami, FL 33155

Thanks to all and to our friends for being part of this donation drive: Miami Pet Concierge, Carla’s Doggy Grooming, Best in Show, Cadence K9, Applause Your Paws, and Pet Wants Miami; and all of our clients and their clients as well. We’ve sent over thousands of dollars’ worth of supplies already thanks to your help.

Halloween Pet Costume Ideas

Halloween Pet Costume Ideas for all Kinds of Pets!

Halloween is a night dedicated to silly costumes and getting out of the everyday norm. Regardless of whether you are a parent of human children or fur children, Halloween is a non-traditional way for families to come together and create long-lasting memories. Take a moment and check out some of Equipaws’ favorite pet Halloween costumes. We hope these can inspire you and we look forward to seeing your beloved pets all dressed up in the perfect outfit for them. Be sure to check out our blog post on dog Halloween safety for costume do’s and don’ts before trying these out, though, and our tips for safely walking dogs on Halloween too! 

Human-Pet Halloween Costume Duos!

We cannot get enough of this Willy Wonka and its Oompa Loompa! Themed Halloween pet costumes add to the excitement and allow for unforgettable memories and countless selfies. Whether you re-create your very own group of Oompa Loompas or the Wicked Witch and her Flying Monkey, we encourage the entire family to get dressed up this Halloween. Check out Costume-works.com to see these and more creative ideas for pets and owners! 

DIY Halloween dog costume

Simple, DIY Halloween Pet Costumes

If your dog hates fancy costumes and is known for chewing on things, simpler may be smarter. What better Halloween costume for your cuddly furbaby than dressing it as a Beenie baby! Design a famous Ty Inc. tag that is specific for your pet and tie it around their collar. It’s as simple as that! Check out fifteen DIY Halloween pet costumes here and find inspiration for others at Purewow.com

doggy costumes

Now on to Fancy Pants Halloween Pet Costumes!

If you have a very tolerant pet we encourage you to get a little bold and go all out! These extravagant costumes are beyond adorable whether they stand alone or are a part of a coordinated costume. Brit + Co posted a wide array of unique costume ideas that will get your creative juices flowing.

Gidget Princess_3541

Cat Halloween Costumes

We can all agree that a huge reason we like to dress up our pets with these silly Halloween costumes is for the laughs. Dogs tend to be better sports with dress up, a cat in costume’s face is sublime. Just check out Princess Gidget from Rocky Mountain Feline rescue- her expression is hilarious. As always, make sure you have your kitty’s consent when putting on costumes. They’re definitely not for every feline, but check out these fun Halloween cat costumes

Non-Traditional Halloween Pet Costumes

Whether your favorite was the powerful female role of Wonder Woman or the goofy youthful performance of Spiderman, it is hard to deny the significance superheros have played this past year! Keep the spirit alive by dressing up your pets as your favorite hero! Also, be sure not to leave out any exotic critters. Bunnies, guinea pigs, and even lizards can make some of the best superheros! Take a look at these small critter costumes, and check out this awesome Thor cosplay made by GrumpyDess for her adorable guinea pig. We’re dying from the cuteness!

Halloween costumes guinea pig Happy trick or treating!

Image Credits:

Princess Gidget. Taken on October 30, 2011 by Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)