The new law gives dog owners more flexibility when it comes to finding housing based on breed, weight, size

The new law gives dog owners more flexibility when it comes to finding housing based on breed, weight, size

Dog owners looking for a place to live score a big win on Friday.

Starting Oct. 1, local governments and public housing authorities in Florida will no longer be able to adopt ordinances or policies designating a dog as dangerous based solely on its breed, weight or size.

This became law on Friday (June 16) when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 942, filed by Senator Alexis Calatayud and substituted for Representative Demi Busatta-Cabrera’s identical House Bill 941.

“Studies show breed restrictions don’t make communities safer and a family’s economic status should not prohibit them from keeping their well-behaved dogs, regardless of their breed,” said Senator Calatayud, a Republican from Miami.

Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025, applauds this move.

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Starting Oct.  1 local government and public housing authorities in Florida will no longer be able to adopt ordinances or policies designating a dog as dangerous based solely on its breed, weight or size.

Starting Oct. 1 local government and public housing authorities in Florida will no longer be able to adopt ordinances or policies designating a dog as dangerous based solely on its breed, weight or size.

“The affordable housing crisis is one of Florida’s most pressing issues. Responsible dog owners shouldn’t face additional hurdles to access housing, nor should they have to surrender their family pet to a shelter for an arbitrary breed or weight restriction,” said Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, an attorney for Best Friends Animal Society.

Currently in Florida, most public housing authorities and two grandfathered local governments (Sunrise and Miami) impose arbitrary breed, weight and/or size restrictions that undermine families’ housing security and send their dogs to taxpayer funded shelters. Out of 49 public housing authority policies reviewed, 46 have weight restrictions–some as little as 10 pounds–and 29 have breed restrictions.

Not only will this act stabilize housing options for Florida families with pets, but it will alleviate some of the overcrowding in Florida’s animal shelters. According to data from Best Friends, in 2022 more than 25,000 dogs were surrendered by owners to shelters in the state of Florida. Housing was the number one reason cited for dog owner surrenders in 2020 nationwide.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: New law: Dog breed, weight, size polices not allowed to deny housing

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