Florida Lifts Pit Bull Ban

Florida Lifts Pit Bull Ban

A New Era for Pet Owners

By L. Chere Trigg / Published October 2023

Photo by iStockphoto.com/Diego Thomazini

In October 1, 2023, a groundbreaking legislative decision will take effect, ending the ban on pit bulls and other prohibitions in Florida that restrict dogs based upon breed, weight, or size. With this new development, many community associations that previously relied on local ordinances to restrict ownership of specific dog breeds such as pit bulls will need to consider making changes to their governing documents should they wish to continue enforcing such restrictions.

     Florida’s decision to no longer ban specific breeds marks a significant shift in pet ownership policies within the state. For years pit bulls have been a breed targeted by various community associations due to perceived safety concerns, leading to their exclusion from many communities. However, this legislation disallows public housing authorities from establishing regulations that target specific breeds, weights, or sizes. It is important to note that public housing authorities may still address any welfare or safety concerns caused by attacks on a person by a domestic animal.

     Before October 1, 2023, community associations that wish to maintain their prohibition of pit bulls will need to amend their governing documents to include specific language regarding specific animals or breeds. Some associations already have such restrictions in place, but many rely on local ordinances to enforce dog breed bans, which will no longer be valid once the state law comes into effect.

     While the ban on pit bulls and other dog breeds is being lifted, it is essential to emphasize the importance of being a responsible pet owner. Regardless of the breed, pet owners should prioritize proper training, socialization, and supervision to ensure the safety and well-being of their pets and their community.

     Responsible ownership is critical to maintaining harmonious living conditions for all residents, whether they have pets or not. It is also important to note that under Florida law dog owners are liable for damages suffered by a person who is bitten by their dog.

L. Chere Trigg

Shareholder, Siegfried Rivera

     L. Chere Trigg is a shareholder with the Coral Gables-based law firm of Siegfried Rivera who focuses on community association law. She is a regular contributor to the firm’s association law blog at www.FloridaHOALawyerBlog.com. The firm also maintains offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, and its attorneys focus on real estate, community association, construction, and insurance law. For more information, call 305-442-3334, email LCTrigg@SiegfriedRivera.com, or visit www.SiegfriedRivera.com.