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Miami-Dade Animal Laws for Dog Lovers

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Do You Know the Law?

“Scoop the poop! It’s the Law!” People say it all the time, but so many dog owners in Miami simply ignore it. Did you know there is an entire chapter in the Miami-Dade Code of Ordinances dedicated to pets? Caring for a pet is time consuming and requires more than feeding and playing. Dogs must be vaccinated, given heartworm pills, and taken for nice walks, socialized, and fed good food- and that’s the base level of care required for a fit, healthy, and happy pet! We’ve included just some of the laws for animal owners and those hoping to breed dogs in the Miami-Dade area (although we firmly support adopting, over purchasing, a pet!). Please read on and remember to do your research before you bring home a furry friend- visit the link here to see the most up-to-date Code of Ordinances (Chapter 5).

Miami-Dade Animal Law Refresher:

Leash/Tether/Transport Laws

This section is of particular interest to us as dog walkers. We encounter way too many dogs off leash while we’re walking our clients’ dogs- some of which are dog-aggressive, or else shy, or working on their training. Needless to say, this can turn a great day ugly in no time. Please keep your dogs on their leashes at all times unless in a designated leash-free zone (leash-free park, your back yard, etc.).

  • Dogs are not permitted to roam free off your private property. They must be leashed at all times. (Section 5-20)
  • It is illegal to tether (or chain) your dog if you are not present. (Section 5-21)
  • To transport a pet in the back of a pick up truck, it must be in a secured carrier. See Section 5-15 for other requirements. (This should go] without saying!)

Nothing hurts our hearts more than to see a lone, chained dog outdoors in the sun. Dogs are social creatures, so being left alone can be difficult enough. There are many negative effects to tethering a dog, including boredom, anxiety, and developing aggressive behaviors. If you see a tethered dog, speak up! It will help the dog and could prevent harm from happening in the future.

Selling/Breeding/Boarding Laws

  • If you breed and/or sell pets, you must have a Hobby Breeder or Kennel license (Sections 5-1, 5-10, and 5-13)
  • If you sell pets, they must be microchipped and registered to the new owner and must be sold with an original official certificate of veterinary inspection. (Section 5-10)
  • 4 dogs are allowed to live on residential property that is less than one acre, 6 dogs on 1 to 2 acres, and 8 dogs on 2 acres or more. Keeping more than 8 dogs on a residential property requires a kennel license. (Sections 5-1 and 5-13)

Vaccine/License Laws

  • Dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against the rabies virus beginning at 4 months of age, and they must be re-vaccinated as directed by the vaccine manufacturer (typically, every 1 or 3 years). (Section 5-6)
  • Dogs must be licensed every year and must wear their tags at all times. (Section 5-7)

Cruelty Law

  • Depriving an animal of food, water, or adequate shelter is an act of animal cruelty. (Section 5-4)

The F.B.I. recently recategorized animal cruelty as a Class-A felony as a deterrent against future offenses. There have been several studies linking animal abuse and aberrant, criminal behavior. The F.B.I. qualifies animal cruelty as:

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.” (Excerpted from Takepart.com)

We are relieved and ecstatic that this crime has received the attention it deserves.

Click here to read more on Miami-Dade animal laws and the fines and penalties associated with them.


  • Private

    I live in the City of Biscayne Park and was wondering if you have to have your dog on a leash every single time while you are out in your own front yard that has no fince because the City wont allow people to put one up unless it was grandfathered in ? I can see if I am walking my dog but in my own yard come on! A day ago a lady was walking her tiny dog and she allowed it to pull on her leash and grawl and bark at my dog I told my dog no as he started to Grawl back at it the lady threatened me that she is going to call the athorities on me when her dog was the one that started the problem… such a trouble maker

    • Frankie Berti

      So sorry to hear! As far as we understand, a dog must always be on a leash when outdoors. However, dogs ARE allowed to roam free on private property, but yours seems to be a special case. Our advice is to contact the City about leashing requirements when you’re not allowed to have a fence. Good luck!


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