Pet Safety

Proper pet safety starts with knowing the laws.

Let’s review a few of Florida’s key pet laws you should be aware of, along with some smart suggestions, so you can help keep your pets safe and happy.

Leash laws 

The state of Florida has no standard statewide leash laws. But each county has their own statutes and many include leash laws. Most are quite similar. In Hillsborough County, dogs or cats may not be loose on public property and may not be on another person’s private property without the property owner’s express consent. So, to avoid possible lawsuits for personal or property damages, it’s best to get written permission before allowing your pet onto someone else’s property (even if they give verbal consent). A couple other common county laws in Florida: Dogs confined to your property may not be tethered to a stake or confined unsafely; if you allow a cat to roam on your property, it must be spayed or neutered.

Owner liability 

Under Florida law, if a dog bites a person (whether in a public place like a park, or a private place like the owner’s home) the owner of the dog is liable for all damage caused. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten reduces the owner’s liability proportionately. Owners are also not liable if they have a “bad dog” warning sign displayed (except with regard to child victims under the age of 6). Additionally, if a dog attacks livestock owned by someone else, the owner of the dog is liable for that damage.

Traveling in a car with pets 

Pet stores have special safety seats and seat belts available for safely traveling in a vehicle with your pet. Not only do they keep pets safe, they can confine them to the back seat so they can’t jump into the front seat and distract you. Pet safety seats fit small to medium-size animals. Pet seat belts are better for large pets. Pet safety seats secure to the back seat of a vehicle the same way a child safety seat does. Just attach the safety harness that comes with the seat to your pet’s harness. Another good travel option is a pet travel crate that has room for pillow, water and other comforts.

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