How Many Dogs Can You Have in Florida?

There’s no legal limit to how many dogs you can have in Florida at the state level, but several urban areas and counties restrict owners to 2-3 dogs.
Written by Kaitlin May
Edited by Brandon Moore
Reviewed by R.E. Fulton
There’s no Florida statute that determines how many dogs you’re allowed to own—but if you’re in an urban area, make sure you’re in line with local municipal code and ordinances.
  • Florida does not have a statewide law restricting how many dogs you can have, but your county might.
  • Dog owners should look up their specific county’s municipal code to determine the legality of their dog ownership.
  • Penalties for breaking dog ownership law usually include fines up to $500, but cases that involve dog-related injuries will likely carry heavier citations.

There’s no state-wide limit to how many dogs you can own in Florida

Where you live in Florida has the greatest impact on how many dogs you can own. If you live in a rural area, the amount is virtually limitless, but urban areas typically restrict the number of dogs to 2-3 per household. 

Future propositions could put restrictions on dog ownership at the state level

A proposed law would mean residents with three or more dogs would have to do the following:
  • Own a separate building to house the dogs
  • Provide the dogs with a dedicated heat and water source
  • Live no closer than 1,500 feet to the nearest neighbor
  • Shelter no more than 10 dogs
Florida residencies with more than three dogs would be considered kennels. The debate lives on in the state of Florida, but the proposition has come to the surface in many of its 67 counties. 

Florida has restrictions on owning “dangerous dogs”

State law doesn’t ban any particular dog breeds, but it does put restrictions around what’s referred to as a “dangerous dog.” 
In Florida, the following things qualify a dog as dangerous:
  • A dog that has attacked or inflicted injury on a person or property
  • A dog that has severely injured or killed a domestic animal more than once
  • A dog that has aggressively approached or attacked someone in public
The public attack would need to be unprovoked, testified for, and approved by a local authority. After the attack, the dog may be confiscated by animal control officers and placed in a quarantine or impounded while an investigation takes place.
If your dog has been classified as dangerous by law enforcement: you’ll need to get a certificate of registration for the animal. You’ll need to show proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination status and a proper enclosure that includes a sign notifying the public of a dangerous dog.

Service dog exemptions from the dangerous dog statute

Take note that if the dog is part of a law enforcement agency or is a registered service animal for a disabled individual, the dog will not have to be quarantined after a bite incident if the owner provides proof of rabies vaccination. 

Pit bull restrictions in Florida

Miami-Dade County is the only area in Florida with a specific ordinance regarding pit bulls, requiring owners to keep their pit bulls in a confined space indoors and/or outdoors with a sign reading “Dangerous Dog.”

Leash laws in Florida

Ordinance No. 14-04
, there are three key leash laws Florida dog owners need to follow:
  • Your dog must be leashed: It’s against the law for a domestic animal to stray or roam around any public place without the property owner’s consent.
  • Your dog’s leash has to fit: The collar and leash your dog wears must be ethically and properly fitted to prevent them from breaking loose and/or being uncomfortable.
  • Your dog needs to be kept under control: You need to maintain physical control over your dog at all times in public, and your dog’s leash can’t exceed six feet.
When it comes to leash laws and dangerous dogs in Florida, you could face some serious legal repercussions if you fail to follow them.  

Penalties for breaking dog laws in Florida

Similar to any violation of the law, the penalties depend on the severity of the situation. Typical offenses related to pet ownership can rack up fines of up to $500. 
In a leash law violation that causes injury: owners of the loose dog could be hit with a negligence charge and need to compensate the victim for damages.
Under the Dangerous Dog Statute: the owner of a dog that attacked and/or severely injured another person or property could be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree and spend up to one year in jail. 
You could also face a fine of:
  • Up to $1,000 fine for an unprovoked attack 
  • Up to $5,000 fine for an unprovoked attack causing severe injury or death
If an owner’s dog causes severe injury or death to another person, they will also face a prison term of up to five years. That’s not to mention the consequences for the dog, which include confiscation, impoundment, and potential euthanasia. 
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