The Leash Laws in Florida
As I have done many times in my own suburb, I walk the sidewalk around the Park by myself, or with my family, or walk just the puppies. Well tonight I was walking, while talking on my cell phone, chatting with my best friend in WI, and I heard running up behind me. It happened so fast, but it started barking at me and I screamed. No owner, and believe me, I looked. No collar, no leash, nothing. This dog was HUGE- I’m talking the size of a lab and he wasn’t a “happy” dog. I backed up and went into someone’s yard, off the main path, and he lunged at me- I screamed again and started to walk the other way- Kel told me to not look it in the eye and I made sure to keep an eye on him/her as I walked away. If he came at me again I was going to call the Police. It was seriously terrifying.
This is a path my children have walked alone with the pups, this is a path that MANY kids walk to the Park on. And all of this got me angry- WHY can’t people keep their dogs on leashes? Now having dogs, and having had them in the past, mine were always on a leash unless they were in their own FENCED yard. I would have to say that since moving here, it seems that many have the mentality that because they feel they are ok to roam free, that others should be ok with it as well. I can’t tell you how many times that Craig and I have been walking and a dog runs up to us, and the owner says NOTHING. How about a “He/she won’t hurt you” and then PUT IT ON A LEASH. I realize most aren’t threatening at all, but strangers don’t know that. Add to the fact that many are vacationing in suburbs around here, or moved here so they aren’t familiar with the leash laws, and people are just asking for law suits.
So what is the FL law on this? I looked it up. A great source that lists EACH of the 67 Counties here in FL can be found HERE. The laws differ for each County, so make sure you check up on yours. For Osceola County, where I live, it basically says that any dog “at large” may not be off the owner’s property without the consent of others for their property to have said dogs on. Meaning, if you are going to have your dog on my yard, or running me down in a public park, you have to have my permission to do so. The way it reads, it sounds like you have to have your dog “In control” at all times- so leash or voice command. Play it safe, keep your dog on a leash, and you won’t wind up in Court. As for that strange dog, I will think twice about walking back there without having pepper spray on me.
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